Western Iowa Tech Community College

KDSN RADIO News

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Comic book uses mosquitoes to teach a lesson

[Radio Iowa]

An Iowa State University professor helped students create a comic book that has a world without mosquitoes. Education professor, Katherine Richardson Bruna, says the "Mosquitoes Suck" comic Is a way to get kids to think about the battle between the insect and humans.

"So then they would have to think about -- who do we think would win? Mosquitoes or humans, why? And what more do we need to know to be sure of our answer," Richardson Bruna says.

Richardson Bruna received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop the comic book. She says the idea came from a two-week camp for elementary kids where they discussed the issue.

"I also knew that other folks in the N-I-H Science Education Partnership Award Community had taken science content and used that as the basis for science comics. And so, I was aware that this was something that people did and maybe we could do this with the Mosquitoes and Me curriculum that we were developing," she explains.

She says the story is set in 2080 and mosquitoes have become extinct.

"And sort of fills in the sort of pieces of mosquitoes science knowledge that we would need to know in order to understand why it is important to in fact think about why it is important to preserve mosquitoes," according to Richardson Bruna. "How they are a broader part of the ecological interdependence."

She says most of the things you hear about mosquitoes are negative.

"You tend to think of them as pests, and school science curriculum really don't touch on mosquitoes. Certainly, the idea that mosquitoes are an integral part of the life balance, is something we are not really accustomed to thinking about," Richardson Bruna says.

Richardson Bruna says it's a way for the students to learn through the comic book story.

"And at the end, they are really understanding the role that mosquitoes play -- and they have developed this sense of empathy for other living creatures -- and a sense of responsibility for their role," Richardson Bruna says.

Richardson Bruna says they are providing copies of the comic book to teachers across the state.

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