Lesson Plans

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Heads and Tails: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Planaria Regeneration

Created by : 
University of Washington

This lesson should be taught after completing the Infusions & Decoctions: Preparing Plant Extracts lesson. Students are introduced to the concepts of stem cells and regeneration using planaria as a model organism. Students will learn how neuroscience research promotes health and leads to understanding and therapies. Additionally, students will discuss ways to do such research ethically. In the lab portion, students will explore how the plant extracts they made previously in the Infusions & Decoctions: Preparing Plant Extracts lesson affect planarea regeneration. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series

What’s In the Lesson Plan: 

  • Teacher instruction guide
  • Student handouts
  • Laboratory instructions
  • Extensions and additional resources

Grade Level(s): 

678

Student Skills Targeted: 

  • Understanding that planaria can be used as model organisms for studying human diseases
  • Understanding that planaria have omnipotent stem cells that are flexible; they can become any other type of cell and can even grow into an entire organism
  • Understanding that testing chemicals or plant extracts on animals is a way to determine their likely effects on humans
  • Understanding that testing chemicals or plant extracts on animals to determine safety is more ethical than testing on humans before these safety tests have been done

Time / Duration: 

  • 2 class periods, plus 10-15 minutes in each subsequent class for up to two weeks to assess regeneration

Materials: 

Alignment with National Standards: 

  • Next Generation Science Standards
  • Common Core Standards: English Language Arts

Languages: 

  • English