Middle schoolers across the country will have the chance to become detectives in two weeks. Scientific detectives, that is.
On April 4, developers at MIT and scientists at the Smithsonian Institution will launch a website called Vanished that will enable middle schoolers to help solve a mystery surrounding an environmental disaster.
The students will be asked to collect data, conduct research, consult peers, and draw conclusions as they try to figure out what happened, and why.
Vanished was formatted like a game in order to show that failure is OK in science.
“You fail on a game lots of times on your way to succeeding, and then you actually gather the evidence you need from your failures. So we see that kids are more naturally drawn to it,” said Scot Osterweil, a creative director of the education arcade.