Friday, November 22, 2013

High School students asking to learn about stem cells

You know a new technology has permeated the consciousness of the population when high school students around the country are telling their teachers they want to learn about it. Today's students are asking to learn about stem cells, and we at CIRM have just the solution for teachers looking for tools: our high school stem cell curriculum.

At the National Association of Biology Teachers conference in Atlanta where I am presenting our curriculum I have had a constant stream of teachers from many different states come by and say things like “fantastic” and “so cool.” I don’t think I have been thanked so many times in 24 hours in my life.

They consistently voice relief and gratitude when they hear our online stem cell curriculum has an extensive backgrounder and glossary built into each unit just for the teachers. Stem cells were not taught when the vast majority of these teachers were in college. Several said they were a little fearful of the topic but felt they had to find some help to get past their trepidation and were thrilled that we were providing it.

Another consistent theme has been an excitement for the fact that they can combine our curriculum with the other content on our web site to create inquiry-based projects for their students that are the heart of the new Next Generation Science Standards.

A teacher from Alaska came up and said he had to drop by our booth because while he was here this week he assigned his student to do independent study projects based on the content on the CIRM web site. “My kids want to know about this and CIRM is the only place I can send them.”

One bit of hyperbole could make my mother proud. One teacher came up to the CIRM booth yesterday evening and said, “my friend attended the workshop you gave this afternoon and she said you changed her life, so I had to come by and meet you and get your materials.” While I doubt that any workshop is life-changing, if even one of her students goes on to become a stem cell scientist, he or she could indeed produce life-changing breakthroughs.

Don Gibbons

1 comment:

  1. New Book:
    TRANSPLANT HANDBOOK FOR PATIENTS: Replacing Stem Cells in Your Bone Marrow.
    By a 75-year old author, in Day +115 since his transplant, who is setting records for recovery.
    Know someone with a blood disorder or cancer? Help him or her to understand their journey.