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Mystery School

Grade and Content Area: 8th Grade – Scientific way of knowing


In the Second Life program, students use an avatar to walk around a virtual schoolhouse and answer 24 questions about things they see in the rooms deciding if it’s an observation or an inference. After they finish the game they get to chose between four vehicles they can drive around the island.

Lesson Plan

Description of the Science Content of the Module: This module is used as a review in the 8th grade for reminding students the difference between observation and inference.

Game Play: First students must receive a HUD from the sign in front of the building by clicking on the sign where it says ‘Click for HUD’. Then they must go to their inventory and right click on ‘Mystery HUD’ and select wear in order to put it on. First the HUD will prompt them to enter their name through chat so their real name can be displayed on the high scoreboard. After this step they will start their pretest. Once completed they will click on the teleport chair outside the building in order to enter the building to start. Once they are in the building their HUD will display a list of clues that will must be marked as an observation or inference. Also the students must read the clues to figure out which pet is missing so they can mark the pet off in the pet list. After these tasks are completed students can use the map to go through the rest of the school and visit all of the rooms. Upon completion of all the questions and when only one pet is not marked off on the pet list the students can enter the garage to see if they have enough questions correct to ride a vehicle. If they do not have enough correct they are able to go back to the school to correct the questions by looking at the map to see which rooms they have incorrect answers in.



Pre-test and Post Test Questions(doc)
Pre-test and Post Test Questions(pdf)

Education Standards: Grade 8 – Scientific Ways of Knowing

    • Scientific Ways of Knowing
    • Grades 6-8 Benchmark A:
      • Grade 6 Indicator 3: Distinguish between observation and inference.
      • Grade 8 Indicator 1: Identify the difference between description (e.g., observation and summary) and explanation (e.g., inference, prediction, significance and importance).

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0538588. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.