Cover page from curriculum about organ transplants

Organ transplantation is one of the most profound medical advancements of our time. The history of organ transplants  dates back to the early 20th century. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that successful transplants of kidneys, hearts, and livers began to take place, largely due to advancements in immunosuppressive medications to prevent organ rejection. Today, transplantation saves and enhances countless lives every year, offering hope to patients with organ failure. Organs such as the heart, kidney, liver, lungs, pancreas, intestines, as well as tissues like corneas and skin, can be transplanted, drastically improving the recipients’ quality of life. However, the demand for organ transplants far outweighs the supply, leading to long waiting lists and highlighting the critical importance of organ donation. Each donor has the potential to save up to eight lives and significantly improve many more, reinforcing the incredible impact of this life-saving medical procedure.

Cover page from curriculum about organ transplants


• Full Class Lesson Plan
• Perfect for a Sub Day!
• Active Learning Card Sort
• Group Work
• Video Bullet Points
• Part of the Technology & Society: Medical Technologies unit

Learning Objectives

• Describe the history of organ transplants from early skin grafts to modern organ transplants.
• Explain the problems of organ rejection, the role of the immune system, and the need for immunosuppression.
• Define allograft and xenograft.
• Identify the different organs and tissues that can be transplanted.
• Describe the criteria used for evaluating a person’s candidacy for organ transplantation and how to become listed as an organ donor.

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