You’ve got to ‘Dump the water out, drain the water flow, tip the water out, toss the water slow’ according to advice given to students at the Mosquito SWAT Lab, a Los Angeles based education company.
The motivation behind this innovation is to teach students the required curriculum in an engaging and hands-on way. Instead of a classroom, the Mosquito SWAT Lab has a 35 foot RV that travels around L.A. giving classes to students in 5th Grade. They hope that through their educational programmes, they will ignite a sense of curiosity in student’s minds and foster interests in careers within the entomology, biology and public health fields. Most importantly, however, is their desire to inspire this generation of young Super Heroes… to empower them to improve the health in their communities by reducing mosquito risks and teaching others what they have learned.
Note that the term ’SWAT’ originated in 1964, meaning Special Weapons and Tactics, but for the Mosquito SWAT Lab, it stands for Standing Water Action Team. The organisation behind the programme is The Mobile Science and Vector Education Foundation, which is supported by the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.
In 2001, The Mobile Science and Vector Education Foundation received a 35 foot RV that was converted into the VecMobile, a mobile science lab dubbed ‘the BugBus’. After 16 years on the road, the beloved BugBus was retired and replaced in 2018 with the new and improved Mosquito SWAT Lab. The SWAT Lab is available to students at all public and private elementary schools within the District free of charge.
The new Lab is equipped with a beautiful 65″ interactive touchscreen display. Through a partnership with Corinth/Lifeliqe, students become immersed in 3D mosquito anatomy and examine how diseases are spread from mosquitoes to humans.
The Lab’s hands-on microscope stations, gives student’s the scientists perspective, and throughout the interior, students are exposed to beautiful SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) images highlighting the artistic beauty that even a mosquito possesses.
The Mosquito SWAT Lab promises fun and educational activities that ‘promote student comprehension and learning’. The educational experience addresses public health, environmental sustainability, and vector control whilst helping teachers achieve the state-mandated curriculum.
The Mosquito Rap
To promote the new SWAT Lab, and engage students, the District produced a music video aimed at educating students about mosquito-borne diseases. They believe that outreach should combine science and music as a way to motivate and empower people to improve their health. New, emerging mosquito threats means they need to find new ways of breaking through the media-rich Los Angeles market, while teaching people about public health.
Before you take a listen, be aware that it is incredibly catchy and, whilst it isn’t available to stream on iTunes or Spotify, we can guarantee that you will be back to listen again.
As well as students having access to online-based activities 24/7, teachers are able to book The Mosquito SWAT Lab via their official website. Available dates can also be found on their site.
Thanks to the Mosquito SWAT Lab for granting us permission to publish this article.