Despite their role in common infections, viruses appear to be alien life forms, with cage-like, helical, and spaceship-like shapes. Explore the biological niche of viruses by building model viruses and investigating their biochemical make-up. Students construct two virus models using sturdy cardstock, one from each of the two main viral types, and relate the shape, structure, and genome composition of viruses to their function. Using the information provided in the activity, they calculate the length of RNA or DNA in each virus and scale the genome proportionally to the size of the model. Inserting the model genome into the virus model completes the model and shows how simple, yet complex, a virus is. Includes enough material for 30 students to make both types of viruses.