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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

The Malaria Challenge

Africa, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, The Gambia, Togo, Uganda, Zambia
Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
Environment, Health, Science, Social Studies & Geography

In this lesson, students explore the global issue of malaria. They analyze data and use their knowledge of life cycles to consider prevention strategies.

More about malaria:


  • Students will use data to draw conclusions about the global impact of malaria
  • Students will explain how malaria is spread and use their knowledge of life cycles to propose prevention strategies
  • Students will compare and contrast potential malaria prevention approaches and make informed recommendations for a given context
  • Students will discuss a real-world example of one Peace Corps Volunteer's work to prevent the spread of malaria


  • Anopheles: A genus of mosquitoes that can carry and transmit malaria to humans
  • Host: An organism that supports another organism, such as a parasite
  • Malaria: A disease carried by mosquitoes that affects millions of people around the world
  • Parasite: An organism that lives on or in a host organism
  • Vector: Something that carries a disease from one host to another




  1.  In order to provide background, viisit the Peace Corps website to teach students more about the organization and the work if its Volunteers
  2. Ask students what they know about malaria. Share a few facts, such as:
    • Malaria affects nearly 250 million people in the world
    • It is caused by a parasite which is carried by certain kinds of mosquitoes
    • People with malaria often experience fever, chills, headache, fatigue, and nausea
    • When not treated quickly and effectively, the disease can be fatal
    • Over 600,000 people die of malaria every year, 80% of whom are children
    • Countries with limited access to health care are especially vulnerable
  3. Distribute print copies of the Malaria Worksheet
  4. Provide each student with links provided, and ask each student to research malaria on the computer, individually or in pairs. Or, print out resources from the sites provided and provide them to students. Direct students to the Centers for Disease Prevention and ControlWorld Health Organization, videos about the malaria life cycle in humans and mosquitos,Stomping Out Malaria video from Peace Corps, and blogs about malaria on Peace Corps' Passport Blog. Instruct them to work independently on filling in their data collection pages. Provide assistance to students as needed during their independent work time.
  5. After students have completed their data collection pages, ask students to come together as a large group and present their findings, especially the solutions they discovered.
  6. Explain that health workers around the world, including Peace Corps Volunteers, are working in communities to address the issue of malaria, and to prevent the spread of the disease. Watch the video about Stomping Out Malaria and read about malaria work at Peace Corps' Passport Blog for examples of what Volunteers do.
  7. Ask students to reflect on what they have learned through the activity, either in writing or verbally.  

Frameworks & Standards

Enduring understandings
  • Knowledge about life cycles is critical for the prevention and control of diseases, including malaria
  • Immediate and long-term solutions are important to consider in addressing global health concerns
  • Malaria is a global health concern affecting millions of people around the world
Essential Questions
  • What factors are important to consider when weighing possible solutions to a global health problem like malaria?
  • How can malaria and other infectious diseases be prevented?
  • How does malaria affect communities and why are some communities more affected than others?


  • Content Standard C: Life Science
  • Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

Social Studies

  • Thematic Strand III: People, Places, and Environments
  • Thematic Strand VIII: Science, Technology, and Society
  • Thematic Strand IX: Global Connections


  • Essential Element I: The World in Spatial Terms
  • Essential Element II: Places and Regions
  • Essential Element V: Environment and Society


  • Standard 4: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making  


  • Research and describe the life cycle of the malaria parasite.
  • Research other examples of preventable diseases affecting people around the world. How are these diseases similar to and different from malaria?
  • Discuss students' experiences with vaccinations. What vaccinations have you received? How do they work? What are some examples of diseases that do or do not have vaccines? Research the status of the development of a malaria vaccine.
  • Explore the economic and social impacts of malaria. How are regions with high levels of poverty adversely affected by malaria? How might malaria impede a community's ability to move out of poverty? 
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