Educator Resources

Class Discussion
Establish Prior Knowledge

Call on students to share what they know about stem cells and how stem cells might be used. If necessary direct students to this website:
http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics1.asp
Explain that in recent years scientists have been able to turn human skin cells into stem cells – but there have been challenges. Tell students that the snapshot they are about to see highlights a new and safer method for creating stem cells from skin cells.

Exploration

Have students watch the Snapshot and read the synopsis. Use the following questions to guide a class discussion.

  • What method did scientists use in 2007 to insert genes into the DNA of skin cells?
  • What flaw did this method have?
  • Describe the new method scientists used to insert genes into the DNA of skin cells.
  • In what ways was this method an improvement over the 2007 method?

Wrap-up

  • What do you think is the next step for research scientists?
  • Why do researchers want to share these new stem cells with researchers around the world?