MRCU uses mosquitoes to teach students maths

| 04/06/2019 | 0 Comments
CNS Local Life
Cayman Prep students watched mosquitoes develop from eggs during special maths classes

(CNS Local Life): Two Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) staff recently taught 150 Cayman Prep primary students the relationship between maths and mosquitoes as well as how to prevent the disease-causing insects from breeding. After the five-day programme held last month, junior entomologist Whitney Ebanks said she was “thrilled” to hear one of the students correctly answer all the questions on mosquitos on a radio quiz.

Cayman Prep primary maths leader Julie Cheriton had first contacted MRCU outreach volunteer Florence (Flo) McNelly in mid-March to request a mosquito programme with a maths theme for the age group.

“I was so excited to meet with Flo, as she was keen and willing to work with us,” Cheriton said in a press release. “We thoroughly enjoyed this first of hopefully many outreach projects with MRCU. The children also benefited from wonderful opportunities to research and have a contextual experience of maths in the real world.”

To celebrate Maths Week Cheriton and McNelly developed a five-day programme that gave the MRCU team roughly two hours with the students each day, to teach them about the relationship between mosquitoes and maths. 

CNS Local Life
Flo McNelly of MRCU teaches primary students about mosquitoes

During this time the young people, aged nine to 11, were able to count mosquito eggs and watch the insects develop from the egg stage to adult mosquitoes.

In addition, McNelly taught them how containers around homes and businesses can create a breeding ground for potential disease vectors (insects that transmit disease), like the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. They also learned about other diseases those insects carry such as chikungunya, dengue, malaria and heartworm. 

Ebanks, a young Caymanian recently employed by the MRCU, told the students about the five most abundant mosquito species in the Islands and the habitats in which they live.

As part of the outreach the students were challenged to inspect their residences/property for containers that mosquitoes might use as breeding sites.

Any schools or youth organisations that may be interested in a similar outreach partnership with MRCU should contact the department at 949-2557.

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Category: Education, Local News, Primary School, Schools

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