The Science of Coronaviruses

Part 1: What Are Coronaviruses?

1: What Is A Virus 2: Are Viruses Dead or Alive?


3: What Are Coronaviruses? 4: History of Coronaviruses


5. The Structure of Coronaviruses  



Paper Modeling Activity: Build a Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are envelope viruses surrounded by a spherical membrane with a viral genome inside and a spike protein outside. In this activity you will create your own coronavirus. Our paper model provided below can be printed, cut and folded into a 3D physical representation of the virus that you will modify as you move through parts 2, 3 and 4 of the Science of Coronaviruses series. You can also draw your own coronavirus.

Color Coronavirus Model PDF

Black and White Coronavirus Model PDF (Use colored pencils to color your model if you wish.)

Paper Model Instructional Video

Coronavirus Drawing Guide PDF (Use this guide to draw your own coronavirus. You will need paper, pencil and a ruler.)

We'd love to see your model! Send a photo or video to contactus@3dmoleculardesigns or tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


Computer Visualization Tutorial

Explore the parts of a coronavirus.


RCSB Protein Data Bank Resources

Molecular Watercolor Landscapes by scientist and artist David Goodsell, Ph.D.

Coronavirus Landscape By David Goodsell, Ph.D.

Printable Coronavirus Coloring Sheet

Coronavirus Life Cycle By David Goodsell, Ph.D.










Respiratory Droplet Molecular Landscape











Additional Protein DataBank COVID-19 Resources

Additional Resources

  • For a good general description of a virus: "What's a virus, anyway?" Scope Blog published by Stanford Medicine
  • For a passionate virus presentation: "What Is A Virus" virology course video lecture by Dr. Vincent Racaneillo of Columbia University (Don't let anyone tell you that this is too high a level for high school students. Undergraduates are simply slightly older versions than yourselves, who have already jumped through a few more hoops on their way to becoming scientists.)

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