A WebQuest for high school biology
Designed by Sophia Gonzales
Stem cells are all over the media and are important in current science. In this webquest you will be learning about what stem cells are, where they come from, and what they are used for. You will form an educated opinion about the “hot button issue” of embryonic stem cell research.
Before you being the webquest you will complete an introductory activity to assess your prior knowledge about the topic. In the second part of the webquest you will be using a variety of resources such as print media, videos, web pages, and animations to learn about the basics of stem cells. The third part of your task will be to write a persuasive letter expressing your views about embryonic stem cell research.
image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell
STEP ONE: Personal reflection
Read the following paragraph:
Imagine you live in a time and place where people no longer suffer from diseases like Parkinson's, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, organ failure, or Alzheimer's. Imagine that spinal cords can be replaced and that most forms of paralysis have been eliminated. Imagine that nerves, muscles, and even badly burned skin can be regenerated and replaced. Now imagine that the source of this technology comes from something that can't be seen with the human eye. While it might sound like space-age technology that we see in science fiction books and movies, imagine that it could actually be a reality.(excerpt taken from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/teachers/lessonplans/science/adult_stemcell.html)
Take a few minutes to react and respond to what you have read. What are your initial reactions or impressions about what you have just read? How do you think this technology would impact the lives of people with these diseases? What would the positive and negative effects of this technology be? Imagine someone you love is afflicted with a disease this technology could potentially cure; what would you be willing to do have access to it? (Fill in your answer on the reaction sheet -you will need to copy and paste the worksheet into a word processing document)
STEP TWO: Learning about stem cells
1. Using the resources below, complete the worksheet (as before, copy and paste into a word processing document). Make sure you answer all questions in complete sentences in your own words.
2. Go to the link: http://www.teachersdomain.org/resources/tdc02/sci/life/cell/stemcellvid/index.html Read the Background essay, and watch the video (click “view”, then “take a test drive”). Then, click on the “discussion questions” tab and answer the questions on your worksheet.
STEP THREE: Persuasive Letter
Using the information you have collected along with other resources provided, write a persuasive letter answering the question “Should the Federal Government fund embryonic stem cell research?” Whatever your position is you must use science and reason to back it up. Use this website http://oregonstate.edu/dept/eli/buswrite/persuasive_letters.html as guide to write your letter.
Search through bills about stem cells (type “stem cell” into search)
“Should we allow cloning for stem cell research”- interactive with arguments for and against and a chance to cast your vote.
Your grade will be broken down as follows:
Part 1: 10%
Part 2: 30%
Part 3: 60%
The following rubric will be used:
LETTER RUBRIC- Part 3
You have now become informed about stem cells. Did you change your mind from your initial impressions? What did you learn? What do you still have questions about? If you want to learn more ask your teacher about other opportunities.
Last updated on July 20, 2007. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page
Life Sciences-HHMI Outreach. Copyright 2006 President and Fellows of Harvard College.
If there are students who want to take things further, or you would like to expand this activity here are a few suggestions:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3209/04.html -there is a video clip and lesson plan that goes with this
http://www.embl.de/training/ells/teachingbase/project5/index.html - a game that you can use in the classroom
http://www.science.org.au/nova/079/079act.htm - a variety of different activities
http://www.garlandscience.com/textbooks/cbl/stemcell/activities/activity1_tn.html - teaching notes and activities
http://www.sciencecases.org/stem_cells/stem_cells_notes.asp - case study activity
http://www.sciencecases.org/superman_ethics/superman_ethics_notes.asp -case study activity
http://www.sciencecases.org/gehrigs_disease/gehrigs_disease.asp -case study activity
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/miracle/program.html - video clips from “Nova- Miracle”
http://www.childrenshospital.org/research/Site2029/mainpageS2029P23sublevel39.html - virtual stem cell lab
Step 1 Worksheet
Take a few minutes to react and respond to what you have read. What are your initial reactions or impressions about what you have just read? How do you think this technology would impact the lives of people with these diseases? What would the positive and negative effects of this technology be? Imagine someone you love is afflicted with a disease this technology could potentially cure; what would you be willing to do have access to it?
Stem Cell Research Worksheet
image from http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/
Name:____________________________ Date: ______________
Using the resources provided, compete the following. Make sure you check multiple sources. You can supplement your answers with diagrams as needed.
1. What are stem cells?
2. Define the following terms:
3. What is differentiation?
4. Where do stem cells come from?
5. What is a stem cell line? How is one made?
6. What are the different types of stem cells?
7. What are embryonic stem cells? When were they first isolated?
8. What are adult stem cells? When were they first isolated?
9. What are the properties of embryonic stem cells?
10. What are the properties of adult stem cells?
11. What are the similarities between adult and embryonic stem cells?
12. What are the differences between adult and embryonic stem cells?
11. Why do scientists want to study stem cells/what are the benefits to studying them?
12. How is stem cell research funded?
13. Why do embryonic stem cells hold promise (why are they so important)?
14. What are some potential uses of embryonic stem cells? (give specific examples with background as needed)
15. What are some potential uses of adult stem cells? (give specific examples with background as needed)
16. Why use embryonic stem cells vs. using adult stem cells/advantages and disadvantages?
17. Diagram an example of differentiation.
18. Describe how cells become differentiated or specialized.
19. What is therapeutic cloning, and what are its applications (nuclear transfer)?
20. How could stem cells be used in the pharmaceutical industry(drug testing)?
21. What are some of the issues surrounding the debate about the funding of stem cell research by the government?
22. What is regenerative medicine?
23. What is bioethics?
24. What three issues do you see as most important as stem cell research moves forward?
25. What are 3 other facts in your search that you found interesting and why?
Name: ____________________________________________ Date: ________________
1.What does Dr Snyder mean when he says stem cells are "flexible and plastic?"
In this video what evidence convinces you that stem cells can be used to cure spinal cord injury?
2. Dr Snyder points out that there are ethical concerns, and that there is no single answer that will please everyone. Who do you think should be the ones to decide where to obtain stem cells for medical research?
INFORMATION ON SPECIFIC DISEASES RELATED TO STEM CELL RESEARCH:
http://www.pdf.org/index.cfm - Parkinson’s
http://www.alsa.org/ - ALS
http://www.jdrf.org/ - juvenile diabetes
http://www.cff.org/ - cystic fibrosis
http://www.npr.org/programs/atc/features/2002/aug/socalledlungs/ -cystic fibrosis audio diary