Jump to this Activity »
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»

Climate Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Climate Literacy.

Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.

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 Content

  • 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.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - This resource asks students to work with and interpret real climate data.
    - It confronts some of the ambiguities associated with climate change impacts on human health.
    - The resource could be updated for an analysis of vulnerability to tropical diseases that are of current concern for spread into the United States, such as dengue fever or chikungunya.
    - This activity is fifteen years old, leaving off a substantial portion of climate change in the southeastern United States. (This is especially relevant since the warmth of the past fifteen years has actually caused a change in sign of the long-term trend in many temperature parameters.) Suggest using more recent climate data.

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.
Entered the Collection: March 2019 Last Reviewed: June 2016

Jump to this Activity »