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Vt. students learn dissection without the animals - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. students learn dissection without the animals

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HARDWICK, Vt. -

These Hazen Union middle-schoolers are tackling frog dissection 101.

"We went in after the brain, the liver, the torso, the eyes," said Matthew Boyce, a seventh-grader.

But they're trading in the biology lab for the computer lab to do it.

"It had us draw a line around where they wanted us to dissect it," Boyce said.

The kids are testing out computer software that's allowing them to perform simulated dissections.

"I got to learn the different names about the heart and I learned how to cut the frog open to look at the different parts of the body," said Selena Murphy, a seventh-grader.

Instead of scalpels, they're doing the work with the click of a mouse.

"It looks real, a lot real. It's definitely great that it shows video of them actually doing it," Murphy said.

Science teacher Teale Church won the computer software in a national competition.

"It's great. Any way you can grab their attention and get them interested, it's great," Church said.

The one-time pre-vet student says she grew up dissecting all kinds of animals, but argues there are new ways to learn the same lessons.

"So many things are digital in this day and age, and this is not only digital where they are dissecting the frog, they are watching someone else do it. So, I think it is a very similar experience," Church said.

Murphy says she would still like to do a dissection the old-fashioned way, but admits the new program has perks.

"You don't have to get your hands dirty," Murphy said.

Others don't feel like they're missing out.

"You could only miss the smell of it," Boyce said.

"It's pretty gross," Church said. "These guys have no idea how disgusting it smells. It is a smell you do not soon forget."

The entire seventh-grade will get to explore the animated dissections as part of its anatomy unit later this year.

Students are also using animated technology to explore human anatomy. The contest was sponsored by PETA.

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