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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

WebQuest: The Malaria Challenge

Africa, Senegal
Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
Environment, Health, Science, Social Studies & Geography

In this interactive lesson plan, students explore the global issue of malaria and take the role of a Peace Corps Volunteer working to prevent the spread of the disease. Students analyze data and use their knowledge of life cycles to consider prevention strategies. Next, they play The Peace Corps Challenge game, proposing solutions to a malaria outbreak in the virtual village of Wanzuzu. Finally, students learn about a real-world example of a malaria prevention initiative in Senegal, and reflect on the global significance of effective prevention strategies.

More about malaria:


  • Students will use data and maps 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


Related Publications


  • 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



  • Copies of data collection pages (1 set per student or group)
  • Student access to computers with Internet and audio 


  1. Begin by discussing students' background knowledge 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
    • Countries with limited access to health care are especially vulnerable
    • In Africa, 1 in 5 childhood deaths are due to malaria
      (Source: World Health Organization )
  2. Explain that health workers around the world, including Peace Corps Volunteers, are working in communities to treat people suffering from malaria and to prevent the spread of the disease. If students are unfamiliar with Peace Corps, visit www.peacecorps.gov to learn more.
  3. Explain to students that they will be engaging in an educational game, in which they will take the role of a Peace Corps Volunteer, and propose solutions to the malaria problem in a virtual community. In the computer lab, students may work individually or in pairs. Distribute print copies of the Malaria Worksheet. Direct students to the Peace Corps Challenge GameCenters for Disease Prevention and ControlWorld Health Organization, and The President's Malaria Initiative , and explain that they will work independently on filling in their data collection pages. Provide assistance to students as needed during their independent work time.
  4. After students have completed their data collection pages, they can reflect on their work using the self-evaluation.
  5. View the video Fighting Malaria One Net at a Time. Use the video to encourage students to consider the challenges and the importance of malaria relief efforts.
  6. Ask for students' verbal or written reflections on the experience of taking the role of a Peace Corps Volunteer and addressing the issue of malaria. 

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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