Exterminate: Analyse and solve

The dilemma

exterminate question

This is a big decision. Exterminating mosquitoes has benefits, but there are risks too.

What to do

Answer the research questions you wrote in the ‘what I want to know’ column of the grid below.

1. Look at the sources below to see which ones are relevant. List these in the ‘how I will find out’ column.

2. Use the sources of information to answer them and complete the ‘what I have learnt’ column.

KWHL exterminate


3. You are now ready to communicate your views:




Use your scientific skills to decide which sources are relevant and to extract the important information. The ‘thinking guides’ below can help you. Real sources come from websites. Adapted sources have been edited to make them easier to read.

Real sources

Oxitec video Listen to real scientists explain their work and find out how GM mosquitoes can help exterminate dangerous ones.

GM mosquito diagram A diagram to show how the GM technology works.

Scientific paper This is a paper written by scientists and explains their research. It will help you decide if GM mosquitoes work. The language is difficult (there is an adapted version below).

Press release Oxitec wrote this. It is to help journalists write articles about some of their research. An adapted version is below.

News video Oxitec are planning to release GM mosquitoes in Florida, USA (mosquitoes living there spread both dengue fever and zika). This news story highlights some of the concerns residents have.

New York times article    Collective evolution website    These two websites contain lots of opinions on the risks and benefits of GM mosquitoes.

Adapted sources

These ones have been edited:

If you find searching the websites for opinions difficult, use the document ‘risks and benefits’ instead.

Scientific paper

Size: 203.45 KB

Press release

Size: 172.08 KB

Risks and benefits

Size: 276.05 KB




Ethical viewpoints wall Here are some ethical viewpoints for you to discuss using rights and duties thinking.


Thinking guides

Thinking guides

Size: 225.91 KB

These sheets help you think through the skills you need to extract information and to make decisions:

Interrogate sources thinking guide: This will help you to decide how reliable sources such as news articles, press releases and scientific papers are.

Estimate risks thinking guide: Use this to weigh up the benefits and risks of science applications and technologies.

Use ethics thinking guide: This explains rights and duties – one type of ethical thinking that will help you to make an ethical decision.

Big Stuff Blog:

An inspiring conference, say science educators…

The ENGAGE project conference, at the Open University on March 11th, was a unique event designed to launch a community of innovative science teachers.  Funded by the European Commission (EC), this event brought together more than 80 Science teachers from right across England, as well as Russia and Brazil.

The conference themes were chosen by the teachers themselves, who presented their innovative classroom practice on curriculum, assessment and teaching methods. “Overall the event was excellent, inspiring and very informative. I enjoyed presenting. I would be happy to present again next year. I enjoyed networking with colleagues from around the country.” Rowan Mangier, Science Teacher.  “Teachers were so very grateful to have the opportunity to discuss ideas and strategies with other teachers and hear solutions to the problems they are encountering” Jude Sanders, facilitator.

The keynotes Tony Sherborne, scientific leader of ENGAGE  and ...