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In Pursuit of Science

This article originally appeared in the Harvard Gazette.

In a Rindge Avenue Upper School science classroom, sixth-grader Nicholas Chiriboga was investigating a virtual ecosystem, developed by Harvard researchers, to understand the real world better.

The EcoMUVE program, an online experiential learning platform, uses virtual characters to explore a decline in the number of people visiting one of two islands. Chiriboga and his classmates were asked to discover why the visitation decline occurred. The young man’s theory focused on lyme disease.

“Ticks usually bite white-tailed deer,” Chiriboga explained. “So I can infer that the more white-tailed deer, the more deer ticks, thus the higher risk of lyme disease.” But through the interactive environment, students learned that the connections on the island were much more complicated than they originally thought. While more dear had an impact, the population of small animals on the island was also an important factor.

Read the full article.