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Activity 3-1: The Journey of the Sperm and the Egg

PLAN

Summary In this activity the students role-play an editor who must edit an article for a scientific journal.

Objectives

Students:

\checkmark describe the journey of the sperm and egg as they travel through the reproductive system, using the correct terminology.

Student Materials

  • Activity Report

Teacher Materials

  • Activity Report Answer Key

Advance Preparation

None required

Estimated Time 10-15 minutes

Interdisciplinary Connection

Language Arts Students write a report for a “Scientific Journal” that describes the journey of the sperm and the egg in the process of reproduction, using the correct terms.

Prerequisites and Background Information

Students should know the correct terminology for the human reproductive system and should feel comfortable in verbalizing these terms.

IMPLEMENT

Introduce Activity 3-1 by letting them know that they will use the knowledge they have been gaining to edit an essay.

Steps 1-2 Allow the students 10 minutes to complete the editing. You might have them work in pairs to proofread the work.

Conclude Activity 3-1 by going over the answers together.

ASSESS

Use the activity report to assess if students can

\checkmark describe the journey of the sperm and egg as they travel through the reproductive system, using the correct terminology.

Activity 3-1: The Journey of the Sperm and the Egg – Activity Report Answer Key

  • Sample answers to these questions will be provided upon request. Please send an email to teachers-requests@ck12.org to request sample answers.

Sperm originate in the tubules of each ________. From there the sperm travel through a tube called the ________ that leads to the ________ gland where the sperm enter a single tube called the ________. The gland adds more secretions to the sperm to form ________. Ejaculation during sexual intercourse forces semen out of the __________, and it is deposited inside the ________. Sperm, in the semen, are capable of moving on their own by whipping their tails. The sperm move up through the vagina and the ________ through an opening called the ________. The sperm keep moving inside the uterus until they reach the openings of the ________ tubes. Sperm in the fallopian tube that contains the egg make their way towards it. Several hundred sperm may reach the egg, but only one sperm will penetrate its wall and fertilize it. At this moment of conception pregnancy begins.”

  • A suggested response will be provided upon request. Please send an email to teachers-requests@ck12.org.

If sperm moving up the uterus to the fallopian tubes don't know which tube has an egg in it, what percent chance does each sperm have of choosing the right tube?

Embryonic Models Students construct life-size models of the embryo/fetus at various stages of growth.

What Do You Think?

Why might some people prefer to give birth in their own home with a midwife attending, instead of giving birth in a hospital?

  • A suggested response will be provided upon request. Please send an email to teachers-requests@ck12.org.

Why do you have a belly button, or navel?

What Do You Think?

Can you control what sex child you have?

  • A suggested response will be provided upon request. Please send an email to teachers-requests@ck12.org.

Why is it even more important than usual for a woman to not smoke, drink, or use drugs when she is or may become pregnant?

Why are most babies in an upside down position in the uterus? Why is it easier for a baby to be born headfirst?

How do twins occur?

Activity 3-2: Boy or Girl?

PLAN

Summary In this activity students investigate the “law of averages” as they determine how many girls and boys are likely to be born in a given set of 10 pregnancies.

Objectives

Students:

\checkmark identify the role of the male chromosome in determining the sex of the baby.

\checkmark explain the probability of having a girl or boy baby.

Student Materials

  • Coin (per pair) to toss;
  • Activity Report

Teacher Materials

  • Extra coins;
  • Copy of Activity Report to use as a class tally sheet

Advance Preparation

If you wish, familiarize yourself with the story of England's Henry VIII and his quest for a male heir. Other examples also would be appropriate. The intent is to pique student curiosity.

Estimated Time 10-15 minutes

Interdisciplinary Connections

Social Studies This activity could be embellished if you took a few minutes to talk about King Henry VIII and his nasty habit of beheading or imprisoning his wives because they would not give him a male heir to the throne. Whose fault was this? Students might also research the difficulties of child birth and the high rate of infant mortality in those early days.

Language Arts or Social Studies Have “Henry VIII” write a letter of apology to his wives for his “insensitivity to gender identity.”

Math Students are determining probabilities.

Prerequisites and Background Information

Students should understand the roles of the X and Y chromosomes in determining the sex of a baby.

IMPLEMENT

Introduce Activity 3-1 by telling the story of Henry VIII or by asking the students to explain what they have learned about how the sex of a child is determined.

Steps 1-2 Divide the class into pairs and give each pair an Activity Report. If possible, a girl should be paired with a boy. If not, designate one partner to be the male, the other to be the female. Ask students to study Figure 3.9.

Step 3 Each pair should have a coin to toss. The boy should toss the coin since it is the male that determines the sex of the child. Results will be recorded on the Activity Report.

Step 4 Gather the answers for the number of boys and girls from the entire class and add them together. Since 10 (the number of children possible in this activity) is not a very large number, the fifty-fifty probability of having either sex may not show up among pairs. You may get an uneven number (such as seven girls and three boys) from the class. By adding the sub-totals, the chances are that you will obtain a fairly even number of boys and girls, which is the way it works in population demographics.

ASSESS

Use the completion of the activity and the written answers on the Activity Report to assess if students can

\checkmark identify the role of the Y chromosome in determining the sex of a baby.

\checkmark explain the probability of having a girl or a boy baby.

You are a fetus with exceptional communication skills. Write a letter to your mother and express your concerns regarding the pregnancy and how you want her to take care of herself and you. Tell her about the changes you are going through, and how you are feeling about the prospect of being born.

Review Questions

  • Sample answers to these questions will be provided upon request. Please send an email to teachers-requests@ck12.org to request sample answers.
  1. What happens to a fertilized egg while traveling to the uterus? How long does the journey take?
  2. What are some signs and symptoms of pregnancy?
  3. Why is prenatal care important?
  4. By the time the fetal heartbeat can be heard, what developments have taken place in the fetus?
  5. What determines the baby's viability if born prematurely?
  6. What is the placenta? Why is it important?
  7. What does labor mean?

Activity 3-1 Report: The Journey of the Sperm and the Egg (Student Reproducible)

Instructions

Here are the original instructions given to an author hired to write an essay describing the journey of the sperm and egg as they move towards each other: Write a description of the paths the sperm and egg take, and where they will meet if conception occurs. Be sure to include:

  • where the sperm is produced.
  • what happens to the sperm after it is produced, but before it gets to the penis.
  • where the egg is produced.
  • what happens to the egg after it is produced.

The author wrote the essay, but because the author did not know the correct scientific terms, these terms were left out of the essay. As editor you will now complete the essay by writing the correct scientific terms in the spaces provided. Use Figures 3.1 and 3.2 in your book that show the human reproductive system as guides to help you trace the journey of the sperm and the egg.

Sperm originate in the tubules of each ________. From there the sperm travel through a tube called the ________ ________ that leads to the ________ gland where the sperm enter a single tube called the ________. The gland adds more secretions to the sperm to form ________. Ejaculation during sexual intercourse forces semen out of the ________, and it is deposited inside the ________. Sperm, in the semen, are capable of moving on their own by whipping their tails. The sperm move up through the vagina and the ________ through an opening called the ________. The sperm keep moving inside the uterus until they reach the openings of the ________ tubes. Sperm in the fallopian tube that contains the egg make their way towards it. Several hundred sperm may reach the egg, but only one sperm will penetrate its wall and fertilize it. At this moment of conception pregnancy begins.

Activity 3-2 Report: Boy or Girl? (Student Reproducible)

Since the mother always contributes an X chromosome, start by writing X in each of the 10 spaces below the heading “Mother” (as in 1).

Mother Father Sex of baby
1. X
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

The second chromosome of the pair (the father's chromosome) will be decided by the toss of the coin. Let heads mean X and tails mean Y. Toss the coin, and write down the answer in the “Father” column. You will then decide together the sex of the baby.

Your conclusion:

Number of boys = ________

Number of girls = ________

% Female = ________

% Male = ________

Image Attributions

Description

Authors:

Grades:

6 , 7 , 8

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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CK.SCI.ENG.TE.1.Human-Biology-Reproduction.4.3

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