Thursday’s Tip: Vanished-A Problem-solving Online Project from MIT & Smithsonian

An environmental disaster has taken place on Planet Earth and we need your help.” is how it starts.

An online project called Vanished, is a new opportunity for kids (ages 10-14 1/2) to be a part of a mystery game of problem solving and investigations. The goal of this project, created and run by MIT’s Education Arcade and the Smithsonian Institution, is to engage kids in on and offline challenges, collaborating with peers and experts, and solving the mystery of Vanished using the scientific method.

The project runs from April 4, 2011 to on or around May 31, 2011 and is only open to kids. It’s not too late to sign up, kids can jump in anytime and start the challenge. AdultTeachers and parents may sign up but can not participate or assist but only “watch”.

To be a part of the project have your kids visit Vanished, create an account, and begin the challenge. Or to learn more visit their About page.

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. You can read more at her blog Higgins Helpful Hints Blog.

Thursday’s Tip: Authentic Problems with INTERoBANG

I am always encouraging teachers to find real world applications for their content and to encourage students to solve problems.  The Partnership for 21st Century Learning lists problem solving and creative thinking as skills our students will need for their  future.

How do we engage in our students in wanting to solve authentic problems?

The website INTERRoBANG has just made these skills easier to teach and intriguing to students.  The website has masked the problem solving as a game, containing many missions for students from grade 6-12 to complete.  Students choose a mission, create a plan, solve the mission and post their findings using multimedia.  With a successful post, the team earns points and eventually can earn prizes.  INTERoBang also encourages teams to create missions, taking the thinking process to another level.

I haven’t used INTERoBANG with students, but the idea is exciting and intriguing!  Even if you don’t want to register and play the game there are some great authentic learning  ideas you could incorporate into many content areas!  Watch this video to learn more!

Carmen Marty is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.