The River City Project

River City was a project developed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education during the early 2000s. Unfortunately, River City is no longer maintained and therefore is not accessible to be used in school curriculum. This website is intended to serve as an archive detailing the efforts of this project.

Welcome to the River City Research Project. With funding from the National Science Foundation, River City was developed as an interactive computer simulation for middle grades science students to learn scientific inquiry and 21st century skills. River City had the look and feel of a videogame but contained content developed from National Science Education Standards, National Educational Technology Standards, and 21st Century Skills.


Introducing River City

As visitors to River City, students traveled back in time and leveraged their 21st century skills and technology to address 19th century problems. Based on authentic historical, sociological, and geographical conditions, River City was a town besieged with health problems. Students worked together in small research teams to help the town understand why were stricken with illness. Students used technology to keep track of clues that hinted at causes of illnesses, formed and tested hypotheses, developed controlled experiments to test their hypotheses, and made recommendations based on the data they collected, all in an online environment.

The River City Project was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, access to the simulation, curricular materials, professional development, and just-in-time assistance were provided free of charge to schools.

Picture of avatars inside River City