As public health experts predict Iowa is on the verge of a more severe flu season this year, researchers have created an online game to help educate children about the flu.
Researchers at the University of Iowa partnered with the nonprofit Families Fighting Flu to create the interactive online game.
It is called Flu Clues.
He takes children from all over the world to India, Nigeria, Argentina and Taiwan to identify influenza epidemics. They then help design a vaccine to save lives.
Maurine Neiman, associate professor of biology at the University of Iowa, said the game is designed so that no one loses.
“We wanted them to make it clear that any vaccine, no matter how imperfect, will always be better than doing nothing at all. That’s why we put it in place the way we did,” a- she declared.
Neiman said the researchers also very intentionally introduced a variety of scientists from different backgrounds and cultures to show children that anyone can be a scientist.
“You can be younger. You know, you can be black. You can be from countries other than the United States. That was a really important message to us,” Neiman said. “And that’s something that I think my team and I were really excited to be able to kind of implicitly incorporate into the game.”
She said that although the game focuses on the flu, but hopes it highlights the importance of vaccines in general, and said it teaches children to ask questions.
“We don’t say it explicitly, but we do science as we go,” she said. “We ask questions, we get answers. And we refine our techniques, our approaches and our conclusions as we go forward.”