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The Changing Geographic Distribution of Malaria with Global Climate Warming

Mary Savina, Kendra Murray, Carleton College, SERC Teaching Quantitative Skills in the Geosciences Collection

This activity engages students in the analysis of climate data to first find areas in the southern United States that are now close to having conditions in which the malaria parasite and its mosquito hosts thrive and then attempt to forecast when areas might become climatically suitable.

Activity takes about two weeks of class time including homework assignments. Computer with Internet access required.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 2 Performance Expectations, 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 9 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Human health and well-being will be affected to different degrees from the impacts from climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7f
Climate change has consequences
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate change has consequences

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:G) Drawing conclusions and developing explanations
Other materials addressing:
G) Drawing conclusions and developing explanations.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:E) Organizing information
Other materials addressing:
E) Organizing information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
Other materials addressing:
A) Human/environment interactions.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:E) Environmental Issues
Other materials addressing:
E) Environmental Issues.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • An extensive list of tips is provided on the activity sheet.
  • It may be helpful to pair students that are skilled in working with spreadsheets and GIS with students that may need support in working with these tools.

About the Science

  • Data sets end in 2003 but still accomplish the objective learning goals for the activity. Instructor may challenge students to find more recent relevant data and update the spreadsheets provided.
  • Thoroughly-written background information with plenty of good citations.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students read and internalize scientific literature in order to put together a class presentation using PowerPoint.
  • Students gain experience analyzing real data sets using Excel. There is a guide for using Excel for this project that is very helpful.
  • This activity involves two or more students working together on a project and presentation.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Spreadsheet skills are necessary.
  • Access to spreadsheet software and GIS by students is required to complete the activity.
  • Updated data and research on this topic can be accessed with internet research.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

High School

Performance Expectations: 2

HS-ESS3-5: Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.

HS-LS2-2: Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

HS-ESS3.D1:Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.


Science and Engineering Practices: 9

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

HS-P1.3:ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables

HS-P3.5:Make directional hypotheses that specify what happens to a dependent variable when an independent variable is manipulated.

HS-P4.2:Apply concepts of statistics and probability (including determining function fits to data, slope, intercept, and correlation coefficient for linear fits) to scientific and engineering questions and problems, using digital tools when feasible.

HS-P4.3:Consider limitations of data analysis (e.g., measurement error, sample selection) when analyzing and interpreting data

HS-P5.2:Use mathematical, computational, and/or algorithmic representations of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations.

HS-P6.1:Make a quantitative and/or qualitative claim regarding the relationship between dependent and independent variables.

HS-P6.4:Apply scientific reasoning, theory, and/or models to link evidence to the claims to assess the extent to which the reasoning and data support the explanation or conclusion.

HS-P7.4:Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence.

HS-P8.5:Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (i.e., orally, graphically, textually, mathematically).

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