Inland Empire school experiments with virtual dissection instead of real frogs

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File photo: A student looks over a frog on a virtual frog dissection display at 'Frogs: A Chorus of Colors' at the American Museum of National History May 25, 2004 in New York City.

An Inland Empire high school is going virtual when it comes to dissecting frogs in biology class. An animal rights group is giving the school special software to do virtual dissection, instead of the real thing.

Officials at Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley say they agreed to the deal mostly because of budgetary concerns. The Animal Welfare Institute and Save the Frogs offered the software for free.

Rancho Verde assistant principal Kevin Stipp says the computer program also can be reused over and over again, unlike the dissection kits the school had been paying for. And Stipp says the school wasn't able to buy kits for all the students taking the life sciences classes.

"Our viewpoint was basically this: if I don't have the materials in the first place, if I'm not able to buy enough dissection kits for the kids to get in there and do it, they're missing out anyways," said Stipp.

Stipp acknowledges some kids are disappointed they won't be able to dissect real frogs, but he insists the computer program will give students the experience of a dissection without what he calls the "ick factor" of dissecting real frogs.

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