Website aims for gut reaction from kids

29 Jan 2008

An interactive website seeking to educate primary school children about the human body was launched yesterday.

The website will be a major information resource for students on body and health issues. It provides access to research undertaken by the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC), the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)-funded research centre at University College Cork (UCC) in collaboration with Teagasc, Moorepark, which conducts cutting-edge research at the interface between food and medicine.

Microbe Magic has informative links that explain microbes and what goes on inside the human body. The site also provides information on healthy living. There are lots of educational games to play online and students can download the computer game Gut Reaction, in which players travel through the intestines and have to harness the energy from probiotic bacteria in the gut in order to kill the bad bacteria, viruses and cancers before they kill the human host.

Students and teachers will also find experiments that don’t need specialist equipment, just everyday items that can be found at home or at school.

“Microbe Magic will provide a wonderful learning experience and resource for students and teachers to explore cutting-edge research undertaken at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) in UCC. It is a major information resource on biological science and supports the APC mission – to link Irish science with industry and society through excellence in research, education and outreach in gastro-intestinal health,” said Professor Fergus Shanahan, director, APC.

“As scientific knowledge is cumulative, it is necessary that children start learning early. Microbe Magic demonstrates the exciting, interactive and innovative ways children can learn about science and I would urge them to log on and use the site to increase their learning skills,” said Professor Frank Gannon, director general, SFI.

By Niall Byrne