In this exercise, students analyze climate data to 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.
Students analyze climatic data from six different locations in the southern United States to determine if there could be a resurgence in malaria. Students must manipulate the data, using Excel, to generate eight graphs they use to analyze their specific location. After each location’s analysis is presented, students must evaluate all of the data and compare to the findings of a scientific research paper (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/289/5485/1763) for agreement or disagreement. You will need to register for a free account with AAAS to view the article.
The suggested timeline for this activity is two weeks. Suggested amounts of time needed for each of the parts of this exercise are found on the website. Students will need advanced math and computer skills for this activity. This may be best suited for an advanced class.