Arctica - Help Arctica - Home

For Teachers

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? In 1833, amid rumors of sickness, poison and madness, a British expedition to the Arctic disappeared without a trace. Can you use the clues you find in the ice to determine the truth of their fate, once and for all?

FORMAT: "Arctica" has four parts to it. The story begins with Episode One, continues in Episode Two, continues again in Episode Three, and wraps up in the Conclusion. Each episode presents clues and culminates in a mystery question that the reader must answer.

INTERACTIVITY: The story responds to each reader's choices, rewarding correct answers and presenting helpful hints as appropriate. Each reader experiences the story in an individual way.

LENGTH: It takes an average reader about 30-40 minutes to get to the "solve-it" page of each episode, and 20 minutes or so to read the Conclusion.

EXTRA MATERIAL: There are links to illuminating sidenotes and appendices scattered throughout the story, written by scientists and experts on the subject.

THEMES: Episode One emphasis: medical science and human health. Episode Two: microbiology and life science. Episode Three: biochemistry. Literacy, problem solving skills and deductive reasoning are tested throughout.

IS IT TRUE SCIENCE? The narrative itself is fictional, but the scenario is taken straight from actual history and contemporary science research and discoveries.


Science mysteries such as Arctica integrate science learning within an exciting narrative. They have wide appeal and are thus well-suited to be a class activity. Typically a teacher will have students read and discuss the first Episode during a class period, and allow students to continue the story on their own.

Many teachers use the science mysteries to engage advanced students, especially those who may normally shun science.

Teachers and parents can download the mystery, so it can be used offline: go to our download page.

To read teacher comments about the science mysteries, visit
To see the other science mysteries available at Access Excellence, visit the Mystery Spot:


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An Access Excellence Science Mystery sponsored by Genentech, Inc.
Copyright © 1997 Genentech, Inc.; all rights reserved.