Texas USA: Can Malaria be Defeated by Building Tall Towers?

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This resource from Planet Science aims to give students an insight into the problems caused by the disease malaria and to come up with creative solutions to combat the disease. Malaria is a major worldwide life threatening parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes, particularly in hot countries - it kills an African child every 30 seconds. The stimulus to the activity is provided by the story of Dr Charles Campbell, a doctor in San Antonio, Texas who believed he had found a unique way to eradicate malaria from swamplands around the city in the early 20th century. As mosquitoes carry malaria and bats eat mosquitoes, if he could bring them together by building a bat tower, he could eradicate the disease. Eventually he had some success. Students are encouraged to carry out some research into malaria, to build a bat box, to examine scientific evidence, to determine whether Dr Campbell’s investigation was fair and suggest possible ways to eradicate malaria. Students can then reflect on the wider implications of biological pest control.

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