Recognizing that heartworm incidence tends to focus around bodies of water and in warmer parts of the United States, students felt the 1986 heartworm incidence map gave insight into the spread of heartworm, but it just wasn't recent enough knowing Buddy was infected in 2014 and Susie was infected in 2019. So Mrs. Brinza went back to the drawing board searching for more data!
Students broke up into breakout rooms to discuss any patterns they noticed....
And they realized that while this data was helpful, it seemed like there might be more than one cause for both increases and decreases in heartworm incidence. So students were asking for data on other possible causes they were considering. The vote was for temperature data! Students were thinking that a rise in temperature meant more ideal living conditions for mosquitoes, which carry heartworm.
Students were starting to see patterns emerge, but of course, questions arose when the patterns weren't always explainable. For example, why was it that heartworm incidence went down some years even though temperatures were possibly becoming more ideal for mosquitoes to thrive?
And the more we realized from temperature data, is there still another factor that may be playing a role with a fluctuating heartworm incidence from year to year, but an overall upward trend?
Our unit is absolutely related to real world phenomena right now: COVID-19 and the effects of climate change. While we are not specifically figuring out COVID-19, we recognize understanding disease transmission is important!