Mission: Zero Malaria is an online game to learn and raise awareness about malaria. It stimulates learning in different scientific areas related to malaria research:
Where does malaria occur and why in those places?
How is it transmitted and who are the players in the game (parasite/mosquito/human)?
How does climate change affect malaria?
How do we identify it? What can we do to avoid contracting it?
What to do in case of infection?
How do we fight against it?
The project is aimed at children in our developed society, who live far away from this situation and perceive it, in the case of knowing it, as a distant problem. In this context, it is vital to generate empathy with knowledge, for them to learn and become aware of malaria and its impact on the countries that still live with this disease, based on fundamental principles:
«THE CHILDREN OF TODAY ARE THE FUTURE OF TOMORROW»
Malaria is one of the most devastating public health problems worldwide. Over half a million people die from malaria each year, 75% of whom are children in sub-Saharan Africa, and its global incidence is estimated to be between 200 and 300 million cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which means that around 40% of the world’s population is at risk.
But malaria is not just a problem for developing countries. Firstly, the effects of climate change are expected to bring about changes in the distribution of disease-transmitting mosquito vectors. Secondly, due to globalization, there is an increased probability of these pathogenic organisms reaching countries like ours through infected travelers from endemic malaria areas. And thirdly, and most importantly, the fight against malaria is one of the sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations in its Agenda 2030. After all, poverty in these countries is also our responsibility, and eradicating malaria depends on their human and social development.
Objectives: The target audience for our project is primary school students aged between 10 and 12 years old, with the following objectives:
– To motivate the students: One of the main advantages of the game is its ability to capture the students’ attention, as it provides them with an environment that they enjoy, find entertaining, and highly motivating.
– To help students reason and become autonomous: The game presents situations to the student in which they must reflect and make the right decisions, solve mistakes, and recover from defeats. With this learning method, the student will not only assimilate concepts about malaria but will also develop cognitive skills through critical thinking, analyzing reality, and problem-solving.
– To allow for active learning: By learning by doing, the student experiences, practices trial and error, establishes relationships between previous and new knowledge, and makes decisions to improve.
– To give students control over their learning: Through the game, the student achieves instant feedback regarding their knowledge of malaria. This allows them to be aware of their level of acquisition of what they have learned and helps them discover where they should focus their efforts for prevention.
Who are we?
This project was initially funded by the «Cuenta la Ciencia» program of the General Foundation of the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council).
Thanks to this initiative, two worlds were able to come together: research from Elena Gómez Díaz’s laboratory at the Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine López Neyra of the CSIC, and game-based learning by the eXperieniaTek organization.
Elena Gómez Díaz Lab: Our research focuses on studying epigenetic mechanisms that allow the parasite responsible for malaria to adapt to the changing environment of its human host and mosquito. We carry out our studies partly in Granada and work in collaboration with malaria researchers in the UK and Africa (Burkina Faso and Mali). Previous projects and studies can be found on our website: https://gomezdiazlab.wordpress.com.
In addition to our scientific activity in malaria, we have extensive experience in outreach and have participated in numerous activities aimed at both adult and child audiences (Science Fair, European Researchers’ Night, February 11th, Pint of Science, Desgrana Ciencia, among others).
eXperienciaTek – LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: We are eXperienciaTek, a non-profit organization aimed at bringing STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) to sectors where this field is underrepresented. Diversity is one of our main values and we actively work to promote equal opportunities for all groups.
Our objectives are to promote social transformation through pedagogical projects based on the culture of play and technology, and to generate techno-social innovation through the exploration of new models for creating, producing and distributing games and editorial products.
The Department of Education has awarded us the STEAM seal in recognition of our activities, such as Christmas Hacking, #girlslovecode, among others.
If you are interested in carrying out the activity for free at your center, contact us:
Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine López-Neyra (IPBLN), CSIC
+34 958 181 643
eXperienciaTek – Game-based learning:
+34 644 29 12 27
Leire is a girl who lives with her family and one day wakes up to the sound of a mosquito. As she goes downstairs to have breakfast, she hears a news report on the radio about malaria. This is how little by little, throughout her day in different settings (her home, her school, her mother’s workplace), she discovers more about malaria.
Shall we join Leire on this journey?
The game has been developed in Scratch, a programming language designed to introduce children to the world of programming. Students will have the resources to continue enriching this adventure from their homes.
Note: It is necessary to have a computer and projector per participant for the development of the activity in the classroom and to carry out the activity together. Afterwards, they can do the activity on their computer, tablet, or mobile device in the classroom or at home.
There is a TEACHER’S MANUAL to guide the development of the game in the classroom. If you want to teach this game in your classroom, contact us, we will send you the Manual and we will give you guidelines.
Click the «PLAY» button to open a new window.
Click the button to enter «Full Screen» mode.
Click the button to «Start» the game.
Click the button to «Stop» the game.