What better way to help students explore careers in STEM than to have them play the role of a scientist? Vanished is a “curated” alternate reality game that allowed students to engage in the field of STEM by solving a mystery and save a planet from destruction.
Developed for the Smithsonian museums under a grant from the National Science Foundation, Vanished integrated online mini-games, visits to museums and interaction with real world places and objects as players solved a series of puzzles. Some of the academic areas this pursuit related to were: life sciences, environmental sciences, paleontology, archaeology, geology, anthropology, math, the arts, and language arts. Players collaborated online and in-person. They also received help from MIT student facilitators and Smithsonian scientists to solve the mystery.