NLM Launches "ToxMystery" Learning Site
Move over, "CSI." ToxMystery (//toxmystery.nlm.nih.gov) is the National Library of Medicine's new interactive learning site, designed to help kids age 7 to 10 find clues about toxic substances that can lurk in the home. With lively animations, surprising sound effects and lots of positive reinforcement, ToxMystery provides a fun, game-like experience, while teaching important lessons about potential environmental health hazards.
Children visiting ToxMystery have an able guide in "Toxie" the cat, who helps find the hazards hidden in each room and offers hints when needed. The objective is to find all the hazards-- in the living room, bathroom, garage and other areas. Ever seen a cat...dance? Players will be treated to that spectacle and more when they identify all the hazards in a room. When all the risky spots in the house have been discovered, Toxie delivers an animated celebration, and players can print a personalized certificate of completion.
ToxMystery's "Parent Resources" page provides more detailed information about everyday environmental hazards that can be harmful to one's health. A "For Teachers" page contains more than ten downloadable activity pages that can be used in elementary school classrooms.
ToxMystery has been enthusiastically tested by real kids, who enjoyed "answering the questions and playing the game," hearing Toxie talk "about all the hazards," watching items in the rooms "hover around and make sounds" and seeing "Toxie do funny things when you finish a room."
ToxMystery joins a number of other new NLM resources (at //sis.nlm.nih.gov/enviro.html) geared toward the general public. It was created by NLM's Specialized Information Services Division, which is responsible for information resources and services in toxicology, environmental health, chemistry, HIV/AIDS, and specialized topics in minority health. SIS (at //sis.nlm.nih.gov/) celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.