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CIRM- five lesson plans for secondary schools

Each of the five units begins with a list of the learning standards that can be taught using the materials, including lesson plans, power points, videos, background information for teachers, interactive activities, assessment tools and separate glossaries for teachers and students.

Crib Sheet: Stem Cells

Hailed as a possible cure for everything from Parkinson’s, paralysis and the injustice of aging, stem cells often sound like the miracle pills of the future—that is if we can ever get past the ethically divisive issues raised by their production and use. Conservatives have called for a ban on further research into their therapeutic uses because stem cells are typically harvested from blastocysts—which have the potential to become fetuses. To learn more about how stem cells are harvested, what their cultural ramifications are and where much of the research involving them takes place, view or download the Cribsheet.

Bioethical Dimensions: Embryonic Stem Cell Research

In this module, students will explore the scientific, conceptual, and ethical implications of embryonic stem cell research. Why should they care? The decision on whether to allow or ban stem cell research may have a signifycant impact on the lives and welfare of thousands if not millions of people. The reason the debate between advocates and opponents of stem cell research is so fierce is that the arguments used are based on deep seated beliefs about the nature and the status of human life and personhood. This lesson involves class discussion, small group and individual activities.

Meeting in Mutantville

This dialogue based lesson includes a case study, 24 stakeholders' parts, an assessment rubric and poster building instructions to determine whether a stem cell research company should be granted a business license to operate.  Students take on roles of stakeholders or town council members. Prior background knowledge includes: stem cells, possible treatments using stem cells and stakeholders.


In this case study, a couple must decide what to do with unused frozen embryos from an in vitro fertilization procedure. Students form groups as stakeholders to discuss and present possible solutions.  Prior knowledge includes: what stem cells are, where embryonic stem cells come from, potential therapies using embryonic stem cells

EdHeads -Create a Stem Cell Line

In this web-based interactive animation, learn what a stem cell is and help our scientists 'create' a stem cell line! This resource includes a teachers' guide and glossary.

Jim and the Forgotten Embryos- A case study on a stem cell based therapy

The goal of this case study is to expose students to the basics of embryonic stem cells, their therapeutic uses, and the controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells through the story of a college student, Jim Allison, who becomes paralyzed after a car accident. Jim is approached by a team of doctors to participate in a study where patients are injected with embryonic stem cells in the hopes that these cells will regenerate damaged nerve cells. The case follows Jim and his family as they grapple with the decision of participating in a study that leads to the destruction of embryos.

Introducing Stem Cells- Power Point

  • Stem cell biology basics: For school students aged 16+, or adult audiences with little or no scientific knowledge
  • Cloning: Some slides suitable for 16+; more advanced slides for adult audiences
  • Stem cell biology in more detail: For informed non-specialist audiences, eg clinicians, scientists working in fields other than stem cell biology
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