Grow Your Own Body
As people live longer the demand for new organs to replace failed ones increases. One possible solution is to build new organs in a dish from cells taken from the patient’s own body. Students use evidence from case studies to work out if this is possible and then to decide whether this new technology offers a good alternative to transplants.

Learning objectives

  • Apply knowledge about cells, tissues and organs in a new context.
  • Access, evaluate and synthesise relevant information to decide if a new technology will be possible in the next ten years.

Try the activity

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Curriculum link

England National Curriculum KS3:

  • Working Scientifically: Recognise applications of specific scientific ideas. Access, evaluate and synthesise information in order to justify a decision based on new technology.
  • Biology: Cells and organisation – the hierarchical organisation of multicellular organisms: from cells to tissues to organs to systems to organisms.

GCSE Combined Science subject content:

  • Working Scientifically: Development of scientific thinking – explain everyday and technological applications of science; evaluate associated personal, social, economic and environmental implications; and make decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments.
  • Biology: Growth and development of cells – discuss potential benefits and risks associated with the use of stem cells in medicine.

Running the activity

Starter Will we be able to grow replacement organs in the lab within the next 10 years?
Core task Explain how bladders are being grown in the lab. Use information to decide how likely it is we will be able to grow organs in the lab in the next 10 years
Plenary Which organs will we be able to grow in the next 10 years? Why?
Extension Should a friend get a lab-grown replacement trachea? Rank the argument cards and use them to write advice.
Plenary Students carry out a class vote to show their decision.
For detailed running notes, download the teachers guide.


Ears from stem cells
Doctors are growing human ears from fat to reconstruct people’s faces

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  • cornishmaid says:

    simple and engaging

    Nice simple approach and engages students fairly well. Recaps on cells tissues and organs nicely.

  • carolynrhiannon says:

    Grow – excellent discussions

    My year 7 class loved this activity, especially the opportunity to use the argument cards to actually have an argument at the end!

  • robahoy says:


    hi I have downloaded the files. how do I view them?

  • essmoss says:


    excellent ans stylish resource

  • tonystrange says:


    The colourful slides – well structured material

    Quite challenging in parts

  • skscience says:

    Grow your own body

    Pupils really engaged with the idea of growing organs in a lab, really effective way of developing appreciation of application of science in the real world. I used this in a KS3 lesson and the differentiated core asks worked well with all my students. Thank you!

  • rcory says:

    grow your own body

    Great way to stimulate the thoughts of the students

  • adelita says:

    Grow your own body

    This is fabulous, unbelievable ! Congratulations for your activity and thank you for this opportunity!

  • wgibson74 says:

    Great for common core

    Love how this requires students to use evidence from the text.
    This really made my students think. Loved it!

  • smitty39 says:

    Grow your own


  • camillabwold says:

    Great engaging resource

    I just used this with my Y10 triple science group, halfway through OCR 21st Century’s B5 (covered mitosis, miosis, embryonic development and cloning). Great and engaging resources, fantastic with such up to date research. It is not quite enough to do for the high achievers, I used as an extension which worked well.

    Thanks for putting this together!

    • Gemma Young says:

      Thank you for the positive feedback and the useful weblink. It’s so useful for other teachers to see where the resource can be used.
      What is so good about this topic is that research is ongoing and new applications are being found all the time so the resource can be used to teach about each new exciting discovery!