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Gory spoils for the daring

No one batted an eyelid as a group of Year 6 pupils from Ludworth Primary School in Stockport prised the eyeballs and lungs from the inert body lying on the desk in the middle of the classroom. And not a drop of blood (or tears for that matter), was shed as one of them triumphantly lifted the heart from its den of ribs to cheers and peels of laughter as the team successfully completed their journey around the body.

The 11-year-olds witnessing this murder most foul were not taking part in some macabre ritual with gory spoils doled out to the most daring. They were testing out a new game designed by the Applied Biological Sciences students at Manchester Metropolitan University, as part of their final year group project.

The Body Game made its debut at the Department of Biological Science's Project and Poster Exhibition at the University, and was developed specifically for use by primary and junior school children to assist in raising the awareness and stimulate interest in life sciences. The interactive board game is loosely based on the well-known Trivial Pursuit, but instead of collecting coloured triangles for right answers, players amass body organs in their quest to learn about their own health and body matters.

Dr Joanna Verran, project supervisor, said her students wanted to produce something on life sciences that could be used by others and not become another item left on the shelf at the end of the year to gather dust. All the questions have been designed to fit in with junior work and teachers can add to the list as the children progress in the subject.

The children liked the gory aspects of the eyeballs and their teacher Alison Coxon said the pieces the children played with were very realistic and encouraged them to take in valuable information through play. "It helped to reinforce what they had already learned about the body," she said, "and it was a pleasure to watch them deepening their understanding while having fun. "

Dr Verran hopes to develop the Body Game further and has made contact with developers for advice on how to manufacture it so that the game is made available to other schools.

* Further details from Georgeene Eastwood, Faculty Development Unit, John Dalton Extension Building, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5GD. Tel: 0161 247 1627. Fax: 0161 247 6322

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