STEMbeats Blog

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

Change the Equation Basks in the Presidential spotlight

February 22, 2011

In a speech at Intel's campus in Hillsborough, Oregon last Friday, President Obama named Change the Equation as a part of the nation's strategy to "win the future" through better education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). He could hardly have found a better backdrop for his message that US students' success in math and science is vital to kinds of innovation that fuel our nation's economic growth.

Intel came in for heaps of praise from the President. He noted that Intel "was one of the four companies that initially joined our administration’s nationwide campaign to boost math and science education here in America, as part of a new organization called 'Change the Equation.'” He also applauded the work Intel has done in Oregon and elsewhere around the country:

You’ve started programs that get kids interested in engineering and technology as early as elementary school....  You’ve sponsored mentoring and engineering competitions for poor and underserved high school students.  Your employees tutors in nearby schools and universities.  You’ve helped train 7,000 Oregon teachers over the last 10 years.

Intel has trained many of those teachers through K-8 Math Progressions, a CTEq Featured Program that began its life as Intel Math.

Here's a video of the president's remarks:


You can read a transcript of these remarks here.

Education is on the Agenda as the President Visits Intel in Oregon

February 18, 2011

President Obama's plans for improving education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will be on the agenda today as he tours Intel's semiconductor manufacturing facility in Hillsborough, Oregon. The president's speech from that facility will be streamed live on our home page, beginning at 2:35 pm EST. Stayed tuned for more details.

Intel is one of the founding members of Change the Equation.