When Artificial Life approaches are used with school pupils, it is generally to help them learn about the dynamics of living systems and/or their evolution. Here, we propose to use it to teach the scientific and experimental method, rather than biology. We experimented this alternative pedagogical usage during the 5 days internship of a young schoolboy – Quentin – with astonishing results. Indeed, not only Quentin easily grasped the principles of science and experiments but meanwhile he also collected very interesting results that shed a new light on the evolution of genome size and, more precisely, on genome streamlining. This article summarizes this success story and analyzes its results on both educational and scientific perspectives.
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology