NOTE: Science Pirates (first released in 2008) is currently being updated for newer operating systems. Watch a video about the game, which was used with middle school students to help them learn about forming and testing science hypotheses.
Science Pirates was funded through USDA's National Research Initiative food safety program. Based on the success of the "Food Detectives Fight BAC!" game, developers wanted to help learners understand the science behind food safety recommendations, such as washing their hands. Through a three year development process, game developers and science educators identified specific science skills, knowledge and processes that would help youth better appreciate food safety recommendations. The resulting product was "Science Pirates", a game that excels in teaching science processes, models inquiry-based learning in games, and ends with a culminating activity that applies learned science processes and experiment design to a common problem in food safety - adequate hand washing.