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I have city kids make comic books to create a buzz about mosquitoes and ecology

Posted Jun 25, 2021

If humans and mosquitoes had a battle at the end of the world, who would win? That’s the question Iowa State University professor of sociocultural studies of education Katherine Richardson Bruna poses to 30 young kids each summer during a two-week camp called “Mosquitoes & Me” in Des Moines, Iowa.

Richardson Bruna is an educational anthropologist who studies the cultural dynamics of science education. Along with her colleagues Lyric Bartholomay and Sara Erickson, who help run the camp, she has the young camp participants explore the “end-of-world battle” question as they learn about mosquito biology, ecology and disease transmission. Based on what the kids learn from their hands-on activities, they design a mosquito comic book character that is either a hero or a villain.

Since this approach was such a big hit, they worked with Marvel Comics artist Bob Hall to convert “Mosquitoes & Me” into an actual comic book. Some of their young scientists drew images of themselves and made up catchy public health slogans for a page about mosquito control. The idea is to reach kids who can’t attend “Mosquitoes & Me” camp by offering to teach them cool facts about mosquitoes.

Read Richardson Bruna’s full article in The Conversation here.