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

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