Monday, 11 August 2008

Schools to receive food safety whodunnit computer games

WAS it Mucky Maureen with the mouse droppings or Grimy Gran’s grubby hands which led to the stomach-churning events in town?
That is what pupils of junior schools in West Somerset, Taunton Deane, and Sedgemoor will be challenged to discover when they take delivery of FoodO - a fun and interactive way to learn about food safety.
The game was thought up by environmental health boffins at Taunton Deane Borough Council.
It is part of a computer-based teaching pack which is going out to all junior schools in Somerset to support curriculum work with seven to 11-year-olds.
FoodO is based on the evergreen board game Cluedo but the lead piping and revolver have been replaced with some real nasties such as dirty utensils or contaminated meat that can lead to food poisoning.
Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlet, and Professor Plum have given way to characters such as Slimy Simon, Mucky Maureen, Snotty Sarah, and other dubious personalities with less-than hygienic habits.
The aim of the game is for players to find out how and where a case of food poisoning happened - and who was responsible.
The action moves from supermarket to corner shop or butcher to snack van.
Children must find out the cause and the culprit.
From the ‘germ’ of the idea, FoodO was developed with funding from the Food Standards Agency, while the Healthy Schools team at Somerset County Council has helped with piloting, advertising, and distributing the resource.
The board game version, which was given to all Taunton Deane primary schools three years ago, has now been developed still further into a PC-based version.
Youngsters are given plenty of clues before tackling the FoodO challenge as the resource pack includes a narrated slideshow telling the pupils how food poisoning is caused and how it can be prevented, and a quiz to make sure they have absorbed the information.
Thanks to high-tech wizardry, the whole package - including information and teaching aids - is contained on one PC memory stick.
Councillor Mel Mullins, the Deane council’s executive councillor for environmental services, said: “The original board game we launched three years ago was popular with the children and successful in getting the food safety message across, and the PC version is a natural progression of this.
“I am delighted that we have been able to secure funding and help to take the message further afield in an exciting and innovative way.”
The game will be sent out to the schools shortly after they return from the summer holidays.

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