MIT and the Smithsonian Team Up on a Science Mystery for Middle Schoolers

February 23, 2011

If you know a kid in middle school, tell her to mark April 4th on her calendar (or whatever a middle schooler's equivalent of a calendar is). That's the day when MIT and the Smithsonian will launch a new online game where players use science to solve an environmental mystery and thereby avert disaster.

From the press release:

VANISHED is a first-of-its-kind experience where participants become investigators racing to solve puzzles and other online challenges, visit museums and collect samples from their neighborhoods to help unlock the secrets of the game. Players can only discover the truth about the environmental disaster by using real scientific methods and knowledge to unravel the game's secrets.

Players will have access to real scientists as they hunt down clues, and they will be able to join an online network of other middle school students who are trying to solve the mystery."Kids from all across the country can work together to form a scientific community just like you would in the real world and try to solve this puzzle," says Caitlin Feeley of MIT.

Vanished already has a website where you can sign up to get news of the game. There's not much to see there yet, only some appropriately cryptic messages and an ominous countdown: less than 3,500,000 seconds before the game begins!

(Hat tip: Eduwonk).


Tags: science