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Heads or Tails? Studying Regeneration in Planaria

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Keywords: regeneration, planaria, Stem cells
Subject(s): Biology
Grades 10 through 12
School: Granville Central High School, Stem, NC
Planned By: Bess Adcock
Original Author: Bess Adcock, Stem
1. To begin the lesson, have the class free write for one minute about stem cells. Encourage students to share some of their thoughts and ideas about stem cells. Use the SmartBoard to display a stem cell concept map. The map should be in outline form, with a list of words that students add to the correct location on the map. The map should help define features of stem cells, and distinguish between embryonic and adult stem cells. (NIH's "Stem Cell Basics" is an excellent source for this information." (http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics1.asp).
2. Show students the video lecture (or portions of it as time allows) "Adult Stem Cells and Regeneration" by Nadia Rosenthal, Ph.D., from the HHMI Biointeractive Website.
You may choose to have students complete a viewing guide while they watch. (Here's the one I wrote to accompany the lecture.) Or, you may opt to use only the Planaria Clip at http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/media/planarian_regen-lg.mov<br>____________________________________________________________________________________________
Viewing Guide to Accompany HHMI's Lecture 2--”Adult Stem Cells and Regeneration”

1. Name three cell types that are constantly replaced. ____________________________________

2. What organ did Prometheus have to regenerate each night, according to myth? ______________

3. Approximately what fraction of the cells in our bone marrow are stem cells? 1/10 1/1000 1/10,000

4. List three animals that have a high degree of regenerative capacity.

5. Stem cells in planaria are termed platyhelmintheblasts bioblasts neoblasts

6. How long does it take for a salamander to replace a lost limb? 1-3 weeks 30-90 days

7. Give three reasons why the salamander may regenerate a limb, but the severed limb will not regrow the rest of the

8. Which has more regenerative ability, muscle or bone ?

9. List three risks/problems associated with attempts at mammalian regeneration.

10. The cell surface protein that appears to be a “location” indicator to stem cells is identified as

CSP59 SCL59 CD59

11. The best example of mammalian regeneration in nature is ____________________ which grow at a rate of
____________ centimeters per day.

12. The genetic disorder the lecturer describes is cystic fibrosis sickle cell anemia muscular dystrophy

13. The research described by the lecturer involved injecting Mdx mice with bone marrow stem cells. The results were
that only ____________% of the cells became skeletal muscle cells.

14. Transgenic mouse pups genetically enhanced to produce more insulin-like growth factor were bred with Mdx mice,
yielding mice that had the mouse form of muscular dystrophy AND produce more IGF-1. When these Mdx/IGF-1
hybrids were injected with bone marrow stem cells, ___________% of the cells differentiated into skeletal muscle
3. Discuss the "Planaria Regeneration" video clip with students.
4. Introduce them to the lab activity found at
Organize students into cooperative learning teams, providing each team with the equipment and supplies necessary to do the activity. Instruct students to document the regeneration of their Planaria by using digital photography each day of the experiment. This photographic documentation should be included in their final lab report. A FlexCam or document camera with microscope adapter could be used to allow students to show their results to other groups for comparison. Class data may be collected and displayed on a SmartBoard.
5. As an extension, you may wish to have students further research stem cells. The NIH "Stem Cell Basics" is a good start for a stem cell webquest activity.

This lesson plan will initially require one 90 min. class period, with additional time each day for the next 7-10 days for planaria observations.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
English--As a follow-up, students could write persuasive papers in which they share their views on stem cell research.
Government--Students could research past and present policies related to stem cell research.
Art--Students could make paper mache' models of planaria.
Students could complete a stem cell web quest.
Students could research regeneration in other organisms.
Students could repeat the planaria regeneration experiment choosing their own independent variables to test.
Links: Link to HHMI planaria activity
Link to HHMI planaria regeneration clip
Link to HHMI stem cell lecture 2
Link to NIH's "Stem Cell Basics"
Materials: Microscopes, Portable, Point and Shoot, Printers, Worksheets
Other Items: 6 Steroscopes, $224.00 each, total of $1344.00
1 Brown Planaria, class of 30, $8.25 each, total of $8.25
30 Petri dishes, $11.50 each, total of $345.00