MIT STEP Lab Presents


Vanished is a curated Alternate Reality game exposing middle grades students to careers in STEM by engaging them in the work of scientists.



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.


Project Specifics


Middle School

Content Area




Project Contact

Caitlin Feeley