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For sixth-grade science, I like to use a text called The Universe in My Hands, which is “a general science course in which the elements of the material universe are ordered by size and the student is introduced to the disciplines of the science as a function of their sizes.” The student encounters the universe by ordering things according to their magnitude. You and I, for example, as humans, are on the order of 1 x 10^0 meters (one times ten to the zero power), which we call the Zero Order of Magnitude, or .
A cat is smaller than that, at the 1 x 10^-1 meters or [-1] Order of Magnitude. A marble is at the [-2] scale. A human cell is at the [-5], and a virus is at the [-7], or 2 orders of magnitude smaller than a human cell.
If you and I were the size of the order of Mount Everest, or the [+4] Order of Magnitude, a virus would be at the [-3] OoM, about the size of a sesame seed. If you and I were the size of the order of the Earth, or the [+7] OoM, a virus would be at the , or the size of a human.
Viruses work by hijacking the protein replication in a cell and causing it to replicate more viruses instead of human genetic material.
Here’s a video on viruses that creeps my little daughter and me out:
And here’s a great link to an interactive site that allows users to explore the scale of the universe.Published in