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The Science and Ethics of Stem Cell Research


Explore the scientific and ethical implications of embryonic stem cell research using hands-on, engaging activities from our popular curriculum. Receive the unit free on CD and complied in a binder. This session will provide an overview of our popular resource on stem cell science and ethics geared towards secondary science classrooms.


The unit begins with a laboratory examination of planaria as a model organism for understanding stem cell biology.  It provides engaging activities that highlight early embryonic development and compare and contrast different types of stem cells using modeling clay. Additional activities focus on the bioethical dimensions of stem cell research, including a case study on the use of excess in-vitro fertilized eggs and a group activity discussing the variety of positions held by different stakeholders in the stem cell debate.  A Socratic Seminar allows students to discuss the role of public funding for stem cell research.  The culminating assessment provides an opportunity for students to either prepare a letter to the President's Bioethics Commission or propose a grant to fund research for a specific disease or disorder.


Participants will receive practical strategies for managing bioethical discussions related to stem cells, an overview of scientific aspects of stem cell biology, and a binder/CD containing the complete unit.


Click here to view the standards this curriculum covers for the Pennsylvania Standards Aligned System (SAS)


Questions or want to schedule a workshop?  Please contact Lisa Cassaro, PSBR Program Assistant, at 717-731-3559 or


These materials were developed in conjunction with classroom teachers, ethicists, and scientific researchers and were made possible by a NIH Science Education Partnership Award grant. The session addresses National Life Science Content Standard F, Science in Personal and Social Perspectives, which indicates that all students should develop understanding of science and technology in local, national, and global challenges.