I remember dissecting both a rat (on a 6th grade nature retreat) and a frog (in 9th grade biology). Punflay.com has two dissection apps available for the iPad which I think do a great job of recreating the physical and visual experiences of performing an animal dissection. I was actually happy that they did not include realistic sounds when using the scissors or scalpel (yech!), but now I wonder if the sounds would have contributed to the experience.
Frog Dissection ($3.99)
From pinning the specimen down to drawing the incision lines with a marker to lifting folds of skin and organs, every aspect of a frog dissection has been thoughtfully and realistically replicated in this app. The dissection is guided with text, audio, and visual prompts. I made the mistake of playing with the app right after eating lunch. If you get squeamish about these things, the realism might actually get to you!
The program has received recognition from PETA (probably for saving some frogs) and from some sustainability and "green" groups. Kudos to the developers for creating a virtual experience that has impact larger than just flashy design.
There are additional features included in the purchase such as 3D demos and guided activities and it looks like they add more with updates every now and then.
Rat Dissection $3.99
Poor rat! The interface in the Rat Dissection app is slightly different than the Frog Dissection app (I happen to prefer the Frog interface to the Rat interface). The visual and kinesthetic experiences are very powerful and like the Frog app, it helps keep a few more rats a live.
The realism (click the iTunes store link above) is pretty solid. Some people may complain that you are not allowed to stray from the prescribed instructions, but I think it could be detract from the goal if kids were allowed to mutilate their virtual dissection specimens (which is what usually happens in an actual science class).
Header photo by Robert S. Donovan