Discover Stem Cells

DiscoverAn interactive stem cell lesson introducing key concepts in stem cell science to young students. The lesson is intended to be flexible and is made up of a set of short modules, mixing group activities with presentation and facilitator-led discussion.



Technical requirements

  • computer with PowerPoint
  • facility to play film clip (no sound)
  • internet connection or stop clock
  • projector and screen or smartboard
  • Method for sticking cards on wall, eg Blu-Tack

Venue information

classroom arranged for group work


2 facilitators: scientists, science communicators or teachers

Audience prior knowledge

Assumes students know the body is made up of cells, and that blood contains red and white blood cells.

What people are saying about this resource

“From my point of view the experience was positive because, in addition to the discussion of the issue relating to stem cells, the aspect of cellular differentiation (a topic that is being discussed in higher classes) was also conveyed and, above all, the construction of this knowledge has come about through a process that makes students active subjects in the process of learning.”

Teacher, Italy

Details and instructions


Discover stem cells is an easy-to-use lesson packed with games and group activities to engage young students with fundamental ideas in stem cell science. A PowerPoint presentation provides the core structure for the session, but the session is broken up into small modules with regular opportunities for students to explore concepts for themselves. This lesson includes the popular card game, Cell Families.

By the end of the session, students will:


  • Know that a stem cell is a cell that can both self-renew and differentiate
  • Know that there are different types of stem cells and be aware of where they are found
  • Know why stem cells are important in the body

Download the PowerPoint slides and the pdf file called 'Lesson plan and print resources'. You then have everything you need for the lesson and its activites. The lesson plan gives a handy overview of the session and includes a checklist of the materials contained in the pdf that you need to print in advance. For detailed step-by-step guidance on delivering all aspects of Discover stem cells, see the facilitators notes in the PowerPoint presentation.

Lesson Plan and Print Resources1.88 MB Powerpoint Slides with Facilitator Notes5.82 MB Editable Stem Cells Decision Sheet - Students1.21 MB Editable Takeaway Sheet360.5 KB Stem Cell Family Cards3.9 MB


Discover stem cells was created and developed by Ian Chambers and Emma Kemp, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh. Important contributions, advice and opportunities to pilot the activities were provided by many colleagues, teachers and students and are detailed within the lesson plan. Particular thanks to Shona Reid of the James Young High School, Livingston, Scotland.Image credits are included within the resources where the images appear.

Permissions: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA