A Medical Mystery

Middle school educators across the US are expected to dive into next generation science. However, high quality NGSS-aligned materials and professional learning opportunities are scarce. That’s why BSCS’s 3D middle school science program--A Medical Mystery--is valuable. It supports teachers in the effective instruction of an NGSS-aligned, EQuIP-reviewed body systems curriculum unit.

Students using this program are immersed in an online environment that challenges them to solve the medical mystery: “What’s Wrong with M’Kenna?” Over the course of several lessons, students investigate how and why M’Kenna is constantly sick, unable to keep her food down, and losing weight. They use scientific reasoning skills and argumentation to identify the digestive system as the problematic organ system—and then engage with a series of interactive experiences, simulations, and animations to observe and analyze the differences between M’Kenna’s digestive system and a healthy person’s digestive system.

Ultimately, students solve the mystery and explain all of M’Kenna’s symptoms based on how body systems interact. More importantly, they learn to use the inquiry-based practices of scientists and crosscutting concepts of systems and system models to construct their own understanding of complex phenomena.

This resource includes the complete middle school science curriculum unit, a teacher’s guide, and an online professional learning course. The curriculum received a high rating of E/I on the EQuIP Rubric, before final revisions.

This resource was developed in partnership with

National Science Foundation logo

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (DRL-1502571). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Register for free unit

Fill out a form to receive a registration code. You can self-register with the registration code on the 'A Medical Mystery' website to access the Teacher Edition resources.

Register for professional learning

Are you interested in a high quality professional learning opportunity to support the enactment of this NGSS-aligned curriculum unit?


For more information, please contact Sue Kowalski.