WILLIAM MARSH RICE UNIVERSITY
MedMyst III will create web-based games to effectively engage middle school students in science and present current NIAID-funded research on infectious diseases. The excitement of doing science and the variety of science career opportunities will be key elements in the adventure games. The content will be aligned to the National Science Standards (National Research Council, 1996) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science Benchmarks for Science Literacy (AAAS, 1993) enabling middle school teachers to easily incorporate the games and the accompanying hands-on activities into existing science curriculum. The primary goals are to: 1) Translate current scientific research about emerging diseases through an innovative game format that emphasizes the "discovery to control continuum"; 2) Include relevant historical aspects regarding the etiologies of selected infectious diseases; 3) Improve students' science content knowledge and critical-thinking/problem solving skills; 4) Attract students with diverse backgrounds and abilities to the biological sciences. 5) Widely disseminate MedMyst materials through workshops and publications. The materials will be tested in several design phases to ensure a positive impact on learning, with a comprehensive field test conducted among a broad student population scheduled during the final year. A teacher training component is a strategic part of the dissemination plan.