This article was originally featured on the Smithsonian Science Education Center’s STEMvisions Blog, and was written by Dr. Rajdev, Rachel Cotton and Sarah Roegner.
In July of 2019, Dr. Usha Rajdev embarked on a journey to provide STEM education to teachers and institutions in Uganda. Over the course of two weeks, she met with one university and four local high schools to develop a STEM program. The Mosquito! Module was implemented in five institutions with Dr. Rajdevs guidance.
Teachers from each institution engaged in training using STEM and what local resources can be used to implement this project. The Mosquito! Module framework focuses on sustainable actions that are defined and implemented by students in reducing mosquito infestations in and around schools. This included cleaning wells, removal of stagnant water, the life cycle of mosquitoes and their spreading of diseases and the importance and urgency of engineering and design of mosquito traps by students.
Using STEM and Project Based Learning (PBL), students designed mosquito traps and gathered data. Students are continuing to work and strengthen their projects and traps throughout the course of this year. They are actively engaged in informing their surrounding community about the mosquito problem, and offering realistic and sustainable solutions. The students are also communicating with the school nurse to document the decline in cases of malaria in their schools. They are looking forward to sharing their data and projects at the International STEM Conference in early August 2020.
So far, the project has been a great success! The students are engaged in learning about the impact of mosquitoes and coming up with their own solutions. They meet once a month with Dr. Rajdev to update her on their progress and receive support on how to best continue their efforts.
In October, members of the team from Uganda, along with Dr. Rajdev, Rachel Cotton (teacher) and Sarah Roegner (teacher), were able to meet with the Smithsonian Science Education Center to talk about their progress with the Mosquito! Module. They addressed how each individual school was implementing the module since the first introduction of it in July 2019.
Each school is in a different location in Uganda, and their diverse environment presents various challenges. Some schools have an abundance of stagnant water, while others must deal with marsh areas. Ideas for the future of the program were also discussed, including the International STEM Conference that is being planned for August 2020 in Kampala, Uganda.