Planaria Regeneration

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In this experiment with planaria (a type of flatworm), learners will investigate the capability of different body sections to regenerate. When a planaria’s head is cut off, the remaining tail section will regenerate a head. The regenerative capacity of different body sections may be an indicator of the location of neoblasts (stem cells). Learners will compare how long it takes for worms cut in different places to regenerate a head. Learners will collect data over the course of 7-14 days.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 4 weeks

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 9 planaria
  • 3 small plastic Petri dishes
  • 1 large plastic Petri dish
  • 1 plastic pipette
  • 1 magnifying glass
  • 1 plastic coverslip
  • spring water
  • paper towels
  • thermometer
  • permanent marker
  • planaria data sheet


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
      • Cell Division
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Animals


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • 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



  • All rights reserved, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2007