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Game show bribed gumshoes to learn
THURSDAY, JULY 07, 2011 15:31 PM

When Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego was turned in to a game show in 1991, it achieved what teachers across the country had been tried to do for decades: trick kids into learning.

Individuals who appeared on the show had the option to earn something that was a little more appealing than a piece of candy or a sticker. According to The New York Times, the carrot in front of each would-be detective on the show was a trip to anywhere in the U.S.

Although some adult viewers thought the game moved too quickly, the producers told the newspaper that the show was designed to move at kid speed. In addition to the quick pace, contestants were challenged by the difficulty of the questions.

In fact, the folks who invented the game were inspired by startling figures concerning American kids' geography knowledge. For instance, a National Geographic survey that was conducted in the early 1990s revealed that 25 percent of kids could not point out the Soviet Union or the Pacific Ocean on a map.

The show received critical acclaim for its ability to genuinely challenge participants, as opposed to allowing luck to determine a winner, according to The Baltimore Sun. While we're sure all the players were smart cookies, we're certain that the prospect of jetsetting served as a great motivational tool—it sure would for us.