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Stem Cell Resources

Created by the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research

NWABR Stem Cell Curriculum
Secondary Level
This unit, which was designed by teachers in conjunction with scientists, ethicists, and curriculum developers, explores the scientific and ethical issues involved in stem cell research. The unit begins with an exploration of planaria as a model organism for stem cell research. Next, students identify stages in the development of human embryos and compare the types and potency of stem cells. Students learn about a variety of techniques used for obtaining stem cells and the scientific and ethical implications of those techniques. While exploring the ethics of stem cell research, students will develop an awareness of the many shades of gray that exist among positions of stakeholders in the debate. Students will be provided an opportunity to become familiar with policies and regulations for stem cell research that are currently in place in the United States, the issues regarding private and public funding, and the implications for treatment of disease and advancement of scientific knowledge.

The unit culminates with students developing a position on embryonic stem cell research through the use of a Decision-Making Framework. Two culminating assessments are offered: In the individual assessment, students write a letter to the President or the Presidentís Bioethics Committee describing their position and recommendations; In the group assessment, students develop a proposal for NIH funding to research treatment for a chosen disease using either embryonic or 'adult' stem cells.

The complete Stem Cell Curriculum is now available free for download. In order for us to measure how our curriculum resources are being used, we request that you please complete the brief information form before being directed to the download page. We will not share your contact information with anyone, although we may contact you in the future in order to determine how our materials are being used.

Sample lesson:

Lesson One - Stem Cell Development
Students model early embryonic development using Play-dough. In addition, they observe prepared slides of early sea star/sea urchin development. Students associate cells from different embryonic stages with their potency.

Click here to submit your information and be directed to the Stem Cell Curriculum Page.

Development of the Ethics Primer was made possible by 'Collaborations to Advance Understanding of Science in Ethics', a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health, 1R25RR016284-01A2. 

Other Stem Cell Resources

Selected Online Resources for Stem Cells
A wide variety of helpful links and resources, including animations and videos.

National Academies of Science Resource Book on Stem Cells
(contains links to downloadable images)

Download pdf version directly

The mission of Stem Cell Resources is to provide timely, reliable, high-quality and scientifically credible stem cell information for the educational community worldwide. StemCellResources.org is a division of Bioscience Network (BSN), a publisher of online science education materials.


For more information contact: Jeanne Chowning
Education Director, NWABR

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