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Teacher Institute Teaching Tips: Stem Cells

In this 3.5 minute podcast (MP3) for and by teachers,  Teacher Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Julie Yu explains what a stem cell is and why they are important.  Teacher Institute Teaching Tips is a bite-sized podcast series of almost 70 episodes for science teachers, by science teachers. Each short episode gives pedagogy tips, science history, hands-on activities, or other ideas for the science classroom.

Stem cell research policy lesson plan: create an advocacy brochure

In this lesson, students will:

  • Explain what stem cells are, where they are found, and how they may be used. 
  • In small groups, create diagrams and glossaries to illustrate their knowledge of stem cells.
  • Evaluate and defend or attack President Obama's ruling on federal spending for stem cell research, using authentic news stories.

Eyes Without a Face: Stem Cell Research and Corneal Implants

Although blind since childhood as the result of an accident, Lucy has never given up hope that one day she might see again. So, when her ophthalmologist tells her about a study being conducted at the University Medical Center that might help her regain some sight, Lucy is eager to sign on. This case explores the use of adult stem cells and amniotic membranes to restore vision after traditional transplants have failed. It would be appropriate for students of biology, physiology, and health-related fields.

Stem cells: the ethical matrix

In this activity you will first produce an ethical matrix and then use it as a tool to discuss some ethical issues surrounding stem cells.

An extract from the BBSRC publication Stem cells - science and ethics (3rd edition).

Activities Exploring the Regulation of Stem Cell Research

Three discussion-based activities exploring the regulation of stem cell research. An extract from the BBSRC publication Stem cells - science and ethics (3rd edition).

Designed primarily for post-16 students to use themselves, the full booklet also contains classroom activities.

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.

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