The Game of Life: Stem Cell Edition

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In this activity, learners play a game that models what happens as stem cells differentiate into different cell types. As learners play, they'll discover that a wide variety of cells can arise as different "cell fate decisions" are made along a stem cell's developmental path.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Game, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Play-doh or clay
  • Dice
  • Small adornments - toothpicks, beads, pins, etc.
  • Game board
  • Signs around the room that designate whether to go right or left


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
      • Cell Division
    • Human Body
      • Reproduction
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemistry of Life

Informal Categories

  • Games


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Yu, Julie


  • All rights reserved, Exploratorium, 2007

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0610238
  • National Science Foundation, 0925383