Cases

When students enroll in eInvestigators, they need to choose an agency as well as a case. A case is the equivalent of a course, and agencies represent the preset time options for each case’s weekend live sessions. Students may not change cases or agencies after placement or during the term, so be sure to select a case that interests your student and an agency that will fit your family’s weekend schedule for the duration of the term. When applying to eInvestigators, you may give more than one choice of case and agency to increase your chances of being placed in the program.

Please also ensure that you understand the technology requirements.

A student smiling as he works at his laptop

Apply Now

Cases

Only twenty-four students are enrolled in each month-long case. Students—who are called “eInvestigators”—will participate in only one case per term, so be sure to choose a case that matches your student’s interests. During the summer, we offer two terms.

The Perplexing Pestilence New!

A group of desperate Wisconsin farmers contact eInvestigators in the role of agroecologists to address an alarming decline in one of the world’s most important food crops. Is this decline isolated to this particular crop, or is it more widespread? Are animals affected as well? How will this pestilence impact businesses and the economy? Will the team be able to find a solution in time to prevent millions of dollars worth of crops from being lost? New data arrives from the field each week as eInvestigators race to diagnose the problem, develop and debate potential solutions, and present options for protecting the world’s food biodiversity from future similar risks.

The Field Trip Fiasco New!

An educational field trip to the national park with a group of students suddenly takes a wrong turn when a protected bird’s nest is destroyed and their teacher is charged with violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. eInvestigators are appointed as federal prosecutors to collect, review, and decipher the evidence in light of the federal statute and recent regulatory guidance. Pressure from special interest groups builds and social media attention grows, adding urgency as the students evaluate all the information and decide how to use prosecutorial discretion in the best interest of justice.

The Abdominal Pain Conundrum

This case kicks off with a patient who presents with abdominal pain—a classic conundrum in the medical field. eInvestigators review the patient’s symptoms, work through possible causes, study her personal and family history, and discuss options for testing and evaluation. They also review medical artifacts in preparing their differential diagnoses and learn how to read X-rays, blood test results, and data from the patient’s physical exam. eInvestigators working this case receive weekly case updates and test results and narrow down potential diagnoses in this medical mystery.

The Combustible Costume Prosecution

Members of a small town notice that there is a pattern of unexplained property fires. The common denominator? All of the incidents involved costumes that had been purchased from a local novelty shop. A grand jury indicts the costume shop owner, and he is ultimately arrested on alleged violations of the Flammable Fabrics Act. Did the owner knowingly and willfully sell costumes that failed to conform to US flammability standards or regulations? During the trial, eInvestigators will join the jury to determine guilt or innocence under the statute. Students will participate in voir dire (a preliminary examination of a witness), experience the neutrality of the juror role, and analyze witness testimony for evidence, bias, and motive. Students will receive weekly case updates and deliberate with their fellow jurors to reach a verdict in this legal mystery.

The Etruscan Excavation

Even a small piece of pottery can reveal clues about the people who used it. eInvestigators in this case explore the Etruscans of ancient Italy, the most advanced civilization before the Roman Empire—and one of the most mysterious societies in the history of mankind. As the case unfolds, eInvestigators discover details about the Etruscans' education, entertainment, and military. This lost civilization has no surviving history of its own, so participants collaborate each week to give the Etruscans a voice by curating a museum exhibit based on evidence from relics and writings during the age of Augustus Caesar. Students then share their findings and arguments using Web 2.0 tools, multimedia, infographics, and virtual avatars.

The Mountaineer’s Malady

An adventurous hiker collapses on a mountain trip and is brought, tired and weak, to the emergency room by his fellow climbers. eInvestigators must step into the role of hospital doctors to stabilize the patient, take vitals, and perform a physical exam. As they get ready to discharge the patient, new signs and symptoms emerge, prolonging his hospital stay and deepening the mystery of his medical condition. Students will interview the hiker’s friends and family, order tests, analyze lab results, and collaborate to rule out various diagnoses. Students will need to explore all possible contributing factors to diagnose and treat the hiker, ranging from environmental circumstances, to this patient’s unique history, to complications of the nervous system.

The Ominous Outbreak

When a single patient is admitted to the hospital with odd symptoms and an unidentifiable disease, doctors are concerned that his illness could turn into an outbreak. eInvestigators in this case take on the role of epidemiologists in the Center for Disease Control, specialists who are brought in to connect the dots and piece together the clues as to why and how this illness is spreading. Be prepared to analyze medical data, read maps, and find symptom patterns. As an epidemiologist, doctors and global health workers are relying on you to share your findings and stop the outbreak. The fate of global health rests in your hands!

The Shipwreck Cipher

An encrypted journal found behind the stacks in a historical archive in London may resolve years of suspense and uncertainty surrounding the pirate, James “Goldknife” Felling, and his lost treasure. Join an archaeological research team to analyze historical artifacts, interpret laboratory tests, and conduct underwater and land excavations while ensuring that the cultural heritage of the region is preserved. As keys emerge from shipwrecks and swords, eInvestigators work together to crack coded messages in hopes of locating the celebrated Goldknife treasure...before someone else does!

Agencies

Each case in the program is offered in both Agency 1 and Agency 2 formats. Agencies, or the preset times of a case’s live sessions, are important because all eInvestigators students are required to attend a one-hour live session each weekend for the month they are enrolled in a case. Each case spans five consecutive weekends. Each Saturday, students choose one session from the two live sessions offered by their agency; they can then choose to attend the other session time in their agency the following week, if need be. Agency live session meeting times are:

  • Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET for Agency 1
  • Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. ET for Agency 2

eInvestigators is a month-long online program for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders that takes place each year in the spring, summer, and fall. Using leading-edge instructional technology, participants collaborate with a small group of classmates and an expert Lead Investigator to collect clues about a real-life mystery, analyze evidence, and propose theories.