The lesson began with an HHMI video about the connection between sickle cell anemia and malaria:
After the video, students had time to begin reading a ScienceDaily article (alone or in pairs) which provides additional information about the genetic basis of how sickle cell anemia protects from malaria. Students then had time to work on the case study worksheet before the end of class.
Update: April 14 – Students requested the opportunity to re-watch the video from yesterday, so we began class with the video and then transitioned to a review of the video through a set of class notes (pictured below). Students then had the remainder of class to complete the worksheet and turn it in. The NIAID website is a great resource for information about malaria, including the life cycle of the parasite. The NHLBI website is an excellent scientific resource for information about sickle cell anemia.
Students were relieved to learn that malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes in the United States. However, mosquitoes in our part of the world do transmit other diseases of concern. For example, West Nile Virus has recently been found in mosquitoes across the United States, including our corner of the country in Western Washington. The USGS has an interactive map viewer that allows the user to visualize individual counties across the country that have reported infection with West Nile Virus and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. The map includes data from the most recently completed year and each year dating back to 2003, so it is possible to observe how the geography of infection patterns has changed over time.