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1.5: Content Overview

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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What comprises the human reproductive system and how does it function? What responsibilities and decisions come with being physically mature?

Reproduction details the physiology of reproduction-how it happens and how to prevent it from happening-as well as the challenges of teenage pregnancy and parenthood. Throughout the unit students use diagrams to clarify new information, such as the parts of the male and female reproductive systems. They create charts to compare and contrast specific information, as in the section on contraception. Role-playing is used as a technique for addressing complex issues such as parenting, and students conduct a week-long simulation during which they care for an “egg baby.” Discussion groups allow for the sharing of ideas, especially regarding sensitive issues. While abstinence is discussed as the only reliable way to avoid pregnancy, the unit does address contraception and abortion in a factual and straight forward manner. Students are made aware that becoming a fully mature adult involves taking responsibility for and making decisions about sexual activity. Therefore, decision making skills are taught and practiced. This unit relates directly to students' lives as they face the biological, social, and psychological changes of puberty, as expressed in the following key concepts:

  • The changes of puberty can be both exciting and a little intimidating to adolescents. The more they understand about how their bodies are changing and why, the more control they will feel over their lives and what is happening with their bodies. A greater sense of control may lead to reduced anxiety, and fewer adjustment problems during the transition to adulthood.
  • The male and female reproductive systems are organized on the same basic plan to function in complementary ways-like a hand and glove.
  • Once a girl has achieved full maturity, she is fully capable of bearing children. In some parts of the world, teenage marriage and pregnancy are normal. But in this society, where leading a happy life depends heavily on getting a good education, teenage pregnancy is highly problematic.
  • Abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy. Abstinence does not imply, however, that a person will never have sex, it means that for this time in one's life, (and maybe other times as well), sex involves a greater risk than the person is ready to assume.
  • Contraception should be more than a device used to reduce the risk of pregnancy. It should be a commitment, a partnership, and a result of open communication between a couple.
  • You, and only you, are responsible for your actions. Part of accepting that responsibility is making the effort to learn about yourself and others, and to anticipate the consequences of your actions. Making good decisions is a lifelong skill that benefits everyone.

The text is so well written that it would be difficult to imagine any group taking offense with any of the issues covered. The wording of delicate issues is sensitive enough that both boys and girls can be in the same classroom and not feel threatened.

-Overland Trail Summer Institute Team

How This Unit Is Organized

Sections 1-3 review the biological functions of the female and male reproductive systems, as well as the progression of pregnancy and fetal development and how they culminate with the birth of the baby.

Sections 4-5 focus on becoming a parent, why some people choose to do so, and others not. These sections also review teenage pregnancy from a biological standpoint, a psychological standpoint, and a financial and social perspective. The difficulties of teenage pregnancy and parenthood are made very clear, both in the text and through the activities (see egg babies).

Sections 6-9 discuss the fundamentals of abstinence, contraception, abortion, and good decision making.

Why Teach This Unit?

It is the responsibility of every adult-especially parents, educators, and religious leaders-to make sure that children learn what we have learned from the lessons of life and to hear over and over that we love them and that they are not alone.

-Marion Wright Edelman

The Measure of Our Success

Harper Perennial, 1992

The United States has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy among developed countries.

  • One million teenage women become pregnant each year.
  • 56% of women and 70% of men have sex before age 18.
  • 85% of teenage pregnancies are unplanned.
  • One in three teenage mothers will have a second child within two years after her first child is born.
  • About two-thirds of teenage women use some form of contraceptive during first intercourse this number is up from less than 50% during the 1980s.

Source of statistics: Alan Guttmacher Institute, Facts In Brief, 1994.

Education programs are an important component in preventing teen pregnancy. However, teen pregnancy is a complex social issue, of which education is only one important part.

Puberty and adolescence present the challenge of adaptation to young teens: how will they incorporate their changing bodies and changing lives into their existing self-concept? This task proves to be more challenging for some than others. Giving students the knowledge and skills to take control of their lives and make responsible decisions is one step toward raising self esteem and reducing social problems such as teen pregnancy or alcohol and drug abuse.

Students should emerge from this learning experience with:

  • a solid understanding of their own reproductive system, as well as that of the opposite sex.
  • a greater appreciation for the challenges of teenage pregnancy and parenthood.
  • a basic understanding of the various methods of contraception.
  • the practical knowledge of the fundamentals of good decision making.

Summary Questions for the Unit

  • How does the statement “That won't happen to me” relate to the material in this unit?

Young adolescents experience a combination of being exposed to adult behavior and resulting expectations of their own behavior, without the benefit of experience and the ability to think critically and abstractly to foresee consequences. Most teenage pregnancy is a result of careless behavior-the attitude that “just this once is OK” and “pregnancy happens to other people.”

  • Why is a getting a good education important in your life?

As the world grows more complex, and computers make more and more information available to us, our knowledge base increases significantly on a daily basis. By the time a person finishes college, much of the technical information learned will be obsolete. Education provides not only gratification in the joy of learning, it also enhances the potential for a quality life.

  • What are the most important elements of making good decisions?

Identifying options and foreseeing the consequences of these possible options.

  • What does a “cycle of dependency” refer to?

It refers to the difficulty of taking care of one's self and one's family when one is handicapped by an inability to get a job (because of a lack of education, or children at home that need care) or to receive a good education.

  • How can adolescents handle the peer pressure to engage in sex, their growing natural urge to explore their sexuality, and their difficulty in getting enough information to make a good decision?

Adolescents can learn a lot from interacting with adults or older siblings who can share the benefit of experience. Information alone is not enough, nor is a supportive friend, peer or adult.

Unit Activities and Key Ideas
Section Key Ideas Activity

1 Reproduction

What is reproduction and why is it so difficult to talk about?

  • Unlike other functions of the body, reproduction is not necessary to keep us alive as individuals. It is essential, however, for the survival of the species.
  • Reproduction refers to the biological functions of our sex organs; sex refers not only to reproduction, but also to the behaviors, emotions, and thoughts about reproduction.
  • Cultural attitudes influence how we feel when talking or learning about reproduction. In this culture the facts are difficult to share openly.
Activity: 1-1: Teaching Children about Reproduction

2 Sex Organs

How do the male and female reproductive systems work?

  • The reproductive systems of both the male and female consist of three parts that work together as an integrated unit. These three parts include production, storage and transportation, and delivery of either sperm (in the male) or ova (in the female).
  • Some of the male reproductive organs are outside the body. Most of the female reproductive organs lie inside the body, where there is more and better protection for conception and childbearing. This maximizes reproductive success.
  • Circumcision is a cultural rite of passage. It does not affect the function or sensitivity of the penis, nor does an uncircumcised penis cause any health problems.
  • The female reproductive system produces mature eggs (one each month) in the ovaries. Once released, they travel down the fallopian tubes into the uterus; if not fertilized by a sperm, they exit the body through the vagina.

Activity: 2-1: Male Anatomy

Activity 2-2: Female Anatomy

3 Pregnancy and Childbirth

What happens to the mother and child during pregnancy?

  • Pregnancy is a natural condition, not an illness, which is the result of intercourse leading to fertilization and implantation. Conception can occur only around the time of ovulation, but knowing when ovulation occurs is very difficult.
  • The embryo grows from a tiny dot, the size of a period at the end of a sentence at implantation, to a 7.5 lb. (on average), fully functioning human infant in about 296 days. If born prior to eight months or weighing less than 5.8 lb., a baby is considered premature.
  • The placenta grows from fetal and maternal tissue. The size of a plate, the placenta links the baby to the mother, bringing food and oxygen in and taking away waste materials. The baby receives whatever is in the mother's blood-both good and bad.
  • The baby plays no active role in childbirth, but is pushed out by contractions of the uterus, which at term, is a woman's largest muscle.

Mini Activity: Fertilization Math

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

Mini Activity: Embryonic Models

Activity: 3-2: Boy or Girl?

4 Becoming a Parent

Why is becoming a parent so important?

  • Having children comes from a natural instinct to ensure the survival of the human species. Children used to play an important economic role in the survival of the family, but now they are more a result of love and a desire to continue the family.
  • Families are changing. People wait longer to marry and have children, and more single parents are raising children. (Only 1 out of 4 families have mother, father, and kids living in the same house.)
  • Adoption and medical interventions allow couples, and even individuals, to become parents who otherwise couldn't become pregnant.

Activity 4-1: Why Have Children?

Mini Activity: Family in Poetry

Mini Activity: New Terms in Reproduction

Activity 4-2: Newborn

5 Adolescent Pregnancy

What are some of the physical, emotional, and social effects of becoming a teenage parent?

  • The U.S. has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the developed world. Most teenage pregnancies are unplanned.
  • If you engage in sex, you risk pregnancy, even with contraceptive use, which is not foolproof. The only absolute way to avoid pregnancy is to practice abstinence.
  • Teenage mothers are often poor, poorly educated, poorly motivated, involved with unhealthy behaviors (alcohol, drugs, unprotected sex), and are less likely to receive prenatal care than other mothers, resulting in more complications, premature babies, and babies with problems (addiction, deformities).
  • Teenage mothers and fathers face a difficult future-education is difficult to complete. Jobs are hard to get. Many feel very isolated, lonely, and overwhelmed. Dependency on others because of a lack of education and the inability to sustain oneself through work creates a cycle of poverty.

Mini Activity: Teen Pregnancy Rates-A Little Math Work

Activity 5-1: Why Do Adolescents Become Pregnant?

Mini Activity: Role-Play: Becoming a Parent

Mini Activity: Raising Kids-How Much Does It Cost?

Mini Activity: Role-Play: Teen Parents Looking for a Job

Activity 5-2: Problems of Being a Mother and Father

Mini Activity: Looking at Welfare Payments

6 Family Planning and Abstinence

How does someone decide when and if to have children?

  • Family planning refers to deciding when and how many (if any) children to have. Some of the considerations are population control, careers, financial situation, religious views, and personal preference. Decisions about sexual activity involve taking control of a crucial part of your life.
  • The rate of population growth has slowed, but the numbers continue to rise. People are having fewer children at later ages. Having children is a function of culture-most people do it. So if your culture tends to have large families and not practice birth control, the same is apt to apply to you.
  • The only absolute way to avoid pregnancy is abstinence. Abstinence means making an active choice which one commits to, just as one commits to any personal goal. It does not mean one will never have, or never has had, sexual intercourse-it means, for now, one is not willing to accept the risks involved in sexual activity.
  • Birth control greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of pregnancy.

Mini Activity: Predict Your School Population

Mini Activity: Debate!

Activity 6-1: Reasons for Not Wanting Children

Mini Activity: Abstinence

Activity 6-2: Who Decides?

7 Contraception

What are the methods used and how do they work?

  • A number of barriers prevent many teens from behaving in smart ways when it comes to sex: ignorance, reluctance to think about the consequences of having sex, or lack of good knowledge about how and when pregnancy can occur. In order to make good decisions in intimate relationships, you must accept your sexuality, understand yourself, know what having sex involves, how contraceptives work, and how to communicate with your friends and partners.
  • Three types of effective birth control methods exist: preventing the sperm from reaching the egg, preventing ovulation, preventing implantation. Traditional rhythm and withdrawal methods are not reliable. Birth control is part of a sexual relationship that should involve decision and communication between partners.
  • Every kind of contraception involves typical (actual) and ideal failure rates, has specific costs and benefits, and must be evaluated in terms of the user's current lifestyle, needs, and personality.

Mini Activity: Mixed Messages

Activity 7-1: What Will They Choose?

Mini Activity: Persuade the Class!

Mini Activity: Debate!

Activity 7-2: Review of Methods

8 Interrupting Pregnancy

When does contraception become abortion?

  • The IUD prevents implantation by changing the lining of the uterus or interfering with the fertilized egg. Currently, the IUD carries a risk of infection and commonly causes bleeding.
  • Abortion, either forced or by miscarriage, interrupts pregnancy before the fetus can survive outside of the uterus.
  • Abortion brings up legal and moral issues, and may cause emotional and psychological distress.

Mini Activity: Debate!

Activity 8-1: What Are the Issues?

9 Making Decisions

How do you make good decisions?

  • Decision making is a lifelong skill that you can use in the simplest or the most complex decisions you need to make.
  • Good decisions come from understanding and recognizing all the choices that are available, choosing one that best suits your life at the time, and following through with the decision.
  • The most important element in good decision making is confidence in oneself, and that confidence is something you can build through many opportunities to make decisions on your own.

Mini Activity: Hindsight Has Perfect Vision

Mini Activity: Sources of Advice

Activity 9-1: Effective Decision Making

Teacher's Guide Overview

This Reproduction unit is built around a variety of student activities. Text material can be used to introduce, reinforce, and extend the concepts developed in the activities. The activities are the foundation of this unit, so the unit's success depends on students' involvement in the activities. Embedded activities are interrelated, since the concepts developed in one may be applied in another.

Section Planning

For each section, you'll find extensive advance planning for the student activities and the section topic. Key ideas, section objectives, background information, suggestions for introducing activities, and the materials needed for each activity are listed on the Section Planning page. Review this information ahead of time to ensure that materials for each activity are available when you need them.

Support for Embedded Activities

Embedded activities are those activities contained or “embedded” in the student edition. Procedures for each embedded activity are contained in the student edition. In the Teacher's Guide, you'll find activity planning information, activity assessment, and student procedures and reproducible pages for each embedded activity.

Enrichment Activities

Enrichment activities are activities found in most Teacher's Guides. These activities are designed to extend and enrich students' learning experiences. Complete Enrichment activities, including Teacher Activity Notes and student procedures and reproducible pages, are located at the end of each appropriate section of the Teacher's Guide. These sample Enrichment pages are taken from the Genetics unit, which would connect well with the content in this unit.

GroupWork Activities

Learning science is a process that is both individual and social. Students in science classrooms often need to interact with their peers to develop a knowledge of scientific concepts and ideas, just as researchers, engineers, mathematicians, and physicians who are working in teams do to answer questions and to solve problems. The GroupWork activities of the HumBio Curriculum for Middle Grades have been developed to foster a collaborative environment for groups of students. Students plan experiments, collect and review data, ask questions and offer solutions, use data to explain and justify their arguments, discuss ideas and negotiate conflicting interpretations, summarize and present findings, and explore the societal implications of the scientific enterprise. In short, GroupWork activities provide an environment in which students are “doing science” as a team.

For more information, refer to “Using GroupWork Activities” on TE page 88. The specific GroupWork activities for this unit can be found beginning on TE page 91.


The research and action projects in HumBio are varied and provide students with time to explore a particular topic in depth. With Projects, students have the opportunity to take a position based on knowledge gained through research, debate an issue, and devise a plan of action. In this way, students can apply what they are learning to larger issues in the world around them.

Projects for this unit include

  • Research Questions
  • Multicultural Perspective: Issues of Reproduction

Assessment Overview

Within each section of the unit there are suggestions for assessment that can be used individually or in combination to develop a complete assessment package. The list below describes the variety of assessment tools provided.

Apply Your Knowledge questions appear throughout each section. They can be used as homework assignments and as ways to initiate aclass discussion. These questions are designed to assess

  • communication skills
  • depth of thought and preparation
  • problem-solving skills
  • ability to apply concepts to related or big ideas
  • how well students relate their new knowledge to different problems

What Do You Think?

These questions appear in each section. They provide students with opportunities to think and write about the concepts they are learning in a larger context. You can use these questions to assess

  • writing skills
  • problem-solving abilities
  • creativity and depth of thought
  • the ability to analyze and summarize

Journal Writing prompts are suggested throughout the unit. These prompts provide opportunities for students to write critically and creatively about concepts and issues. The writing products can be used to assess

  • writing skills
  • depth of thought
  • the ability to explain and expand concepts

Review Questions

Review Questions are located at the end of each section. These questions can be used for written responses or as the basis for class discussion. These questions are designed to assess content knowledge and whether students can explain the concepts explored in the section.

Activity-Based Assessment

Inquiry-based student-centered activities are the foundation of the Human Biology Program. The unit is rich with relevant exciting activities that introduce support, or and reinforce concepts students are exploring. Within the Teacher's Guide, you'll find extensive teacher information, including assessment strategies, for each type of activity:

  • Embedded Activities
  • Enrichment Activities
  • Mini Activities
  • GroupWork
  • Projects

Persuade the Class Should prescription contraceptives be available without parental consent for people under age 18? Why or why not?

You can use students' products to assess their progress. These products include models, simulations, observations and report of laboratory investigations, role-plays, written responses to questions and written observations, student-designed explorations and procedures, poster presentations, and classroom presentations.


You may want to have your students develop a portfolio for the unit. A sample assessment portfolio for the unit might include the following items:

  • Written responses to one Apply Your Knowledge from each section.
  • An analysis of their two favorite activities and how those activities helped them learn an important concept.
  • A completed project.
  • Daily record from Activity 4-2: Newborn.
  • Example of decision-making process.

Getting Started

Keep Students Interested. Encourage students to read the text: It is the story line that ties all of the content together. Every effort has been made to make the text interesting to students and appropriate to their reading level. Text material can be used to introduce, reinforce, and extend the concepts addressed within the activities.

The success of the unit depends on the completion of at least the Embedded activities. Keep in mind that some activities are related since the data obtained in one may be used in another.

Plan Ahead. The unit is activity-based, and you can select the activities that will best meet your class' needs. The activities are listed in the Unit Matrix on page xiv and in the Activity Index on page 133. Mini Activities are shotter and can be done with minimal teacher input; they are located in the margin of the student edition. The Embedded activities in the student text are investigations that require some planning and setup time; these are the essential activities within the unit.

A variety of projects were designed to extend the content of the unit. These include ongoing class projects, school projects, and/or community projects. Projects are located at the end of the Teacher's Guide, beginning on page 123.

Customize the Unit. Each section of this unit builds upon knowledge gained in the previous sections. Teaching timelines are provided on TE pages xxiv-xxv. The first timeline on TE page xxiv demonstrates how to complete this unit within a three-week schedule. The timeline on TE page xxv demonstrates how to complete this unit within a five-week schedule. Both of these timelines highlight the essential activities. If your class has time to study the unit over a longer period of time, many additional activities are available.

Allow Time for Projects. Consider having students start projects at the beginning of the unit and then prepare those projects for presentation as a culminating event.

Use Current Events. Ask students to bring in newspaper and magazine articles that relate to what they are studying each week. Relating the unit content to current events helps students see that what they are doing in class is, in fact, relevant to their lives outside of school. Students can use current events to make group scrapbooks, bulletin boards, and posters or to develop class presentations.

Make a “Question Box” Available. Have students write down questions they have about what they are investigating and put them in the box. At appropriate times select questions and read them to the class to generate discussion. These questions can also be used to initiate class research projects.

Use a Variety of Resources. We encourage you and your students to use a wide variety of sources for information. The activities provide rich opportunities for students to explore a variety of concepts. The more students incorporate information from resources outside the classroom, the richer their learning experiences will be. Use computer services for gathering student and teacher information, for networking with students in different schools and with community resources, and for contacting experts in the field under study. A list of resources can be found on page 128 of this Teacher's Guide.

Make Career Connections. Encourage students to investigate careers related to the content of the unit. Invite scientists, physicians, and technologists working in the field to come to your classroom to discuss career opportunities, their research, and specific topics of interest.

Plan for Field Trips. Field trips to local hospitals, industrial sites, or universities need, of course, to be arranged well in advance. Contact the public affairs offices of these institutions for assistance.

Address Health Concerns. Be aware of any special health problems your students may have. Some students may have health conditions that would make it uncomfortable for them to participate in certain activities, such as those that require exercise or that relate directly to their particular health problems. For students unable to participate fully in these activities you may wish to create an alternative assignment or have them use data from another group. If the class is appropriately prepared, the affected students may want to share information about their special circumstances with the class in order to increase empathy and knowledge of all students.

Connect with Other HumBio Units. The units covering human physiological systems, cell biology, and genetics are related. There are many opportunities to make connections among the concepts taught in these units. Similarly, the three units covering the biological, behavioral, and social aspects of adolescent development can be taught in sequence.

Connect with Other Disciplines. The interdisciplinary web provided is a guide for planning if your school uses an interdisciplinary team approach. The web classifies the unit's activities and projects by related discipline-language arts, math, social studies, physical education, health/nutrition, visual and performing arts, and science. For interdisciplinary planning, schedule meetings with your team early. You are encouraged to tap the talents and interests of your team members as well as of your unique school and community resources in developing other suitable activities for this unit.

Connect with the Home. Give special attention to the unit activities as a means of involving family and community members. Also, encourage your students to take selected Apply Your Knowledge questions and Mini Activities home for further exploration.

Teaching Timelines

You can use these timelines as a place to start in designing your own timelines, or you can use them as they are laid out. If you're planning your own timeline, consider the inclusion of the Embedded activities first. The “Embedded activities” are included in the student edition. The Enrichment activities, GroupWork activities, and Projects can then be included, depending on your time restrictions. The timelines are guides that can vary if some activities are done at home or in other classes in addition to science class.

Given your time constraints, it may not be possible to do all the activities shown on these timelines. If you need to remove activities, be careful not to remove any activities critical to the content of the unit. You may want to divide the activities among interdisciplinary members of your teaching team.

Page references in these charts refer to the student edition.

Option 1: Three Week Timeline
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Week 1

Read Section 1

Activity 1-1: Teaching Children about Reproduction

Read Section 2 through part on the Male Reproductive System

Activity 2-1: Male Anatomy

Read Section 2 through part on the Female Reproductive System

Activity 2-2: Female Anatomy

Read Section 3 Activity 3-1: The Journey of the Sperm and the Egg
Week 2

Activity 3-2: Boy or Girl?

Read Section 4

Activity 4-1: Why Have Children?

Introduce Activity 4-2: Newborn

Read Section 5

Activity 5-1: Why Do Adolescents Become Pregnant?

Activity 5-2: Problems of Being a Mother and Father

Read Section 6

Activity 6-1: Reasons for Not Wanting Children

Week 3

Activity 6-2: Who Decides?

Activity 4-2: Newborn

Read Section 7

Activity 7-1: What Will They Choose?

Activity 7-2: Review of Methods

Read Section 8

Activity 8-1: What Are the Issues?

Read Section 9

Activity 9-1: Effective Decision Making

Option 1: Five Week Timeline
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Week 1

Read Section 1

Activity 1-1: Teaching Children about Reproduction

Explain project choices to students (Have entire class do Project 2 Multicultural Perspective, or let students choose from Project 1 Research and Action Projects)

Read Section 2 through part on the Male Reproductive System

Activity 2-1: Male Anatomy

Read Section 2 through part on the Female Reproductive System

Activity 2-2: Female Anatomy

Project Day: allow students to work on their projects
Week 2 Read Section 3 Activity 3-1: The Journey of the Sperm and the Egg Activity 3-2: Boy or Girl?

Read Section 4

Activity 4-1: Why Have Children?

Introduce Activity 4-2: Newborn (activity will start on Monday)

Project Day: allow students to work on their projects

Week 3 Introduce all “Newborns” to the class. Have a “Get Acquainted Day” Read Section 5 through Activity 5-1 Activity 5-1: Why Do Adolescents Become Pregnant? Activity 5-2: Problems of Being a Mother and Father Project Day: allow students to work on their projects
Week 4

Read Section 6

Activity 6-1: Reasons for Not Wanting Children

Activity 6-2: Who Decides? Read Section 7 Activity 7-1: What Will They Choose? Project Day: allow students to work on their projects
Week 5 Activity 7-2: Review of Methods

Read Section 8

Activity 8-1: What Are the Issues?

Read Section 9

Activity 9-1: Effective Decision Making

Have groups share projects Have groups share projects

Safety for Teachers

  • Always perform an experiment or demonstration on your own before allowing students to perform the activity. Look for possible hazards. Alert students to possible dangers. Safety instructions should be given each time an experiment is begun.
  • Wear glasses and not contact lenses. Make sure you and your students wear safety goggles in the lab when performing any experiments.
  • Do not tolerate horseplay or practical jokes of any kind.
  • Do not allow students to perform any unauthorized experiments.
  • Never use mouth suction in filling pipettes with chemical reagents.
  • Never “force” glass tubing into rubber stoppers.
  • Use equipment that is heat resistant.
  • Set good safety examples when conducting demonstrations and experiments.
  • Turn off all hot plates and open burners when they are not in use and when leaving the lab.
  • When students are working with open flames, remind them to tie back long hair and to be aware of loose clothing in order to avoid contact with flames.
  • Make sure you and your students know the location of and how to use fire extinguishers, eyewash fountains, safety showers, fire blankets, and first-aid kits.
  • Students and student aides should be fully aware of potential hazards and know how to deal with accidents. Establish and educate students on first-aid procedures.
  • Teach students the safety precautions regarding the use of electricity in everyday situations. Make sure students understand that the human body is a conductor of electricity. ever handle electrical equipment with wet hands or when standing in damp areas. Never overload electrical circuits. Use 3-prong service outlets.
  • Make sure that electrical equipment is properly grounded. A ground-fault circuit breaker is desirable for all laboratory AC circuits. A master switch to cut off electricity to all stations is desirable for all laboratory AC circuits.
  • Make sure you and your students are familiar with how to leave the lab safely in an emergency. Be sure you know a safe exit route in the event of a fire or an explosion.

For Student Safety

Safety in the Classroom

  • Wear safety goggles in the lab when performing any experiments. Tie back long hair and tuck in loose clothing while performing experiments, especially when working near or with an open flame.
  • Never eat or drink anything while working in the science classroom. Only lab manuals, notebooks, and writing instruments should be in the work area.
  • Do not taste any chemicals for any reason, including identification.
  • Carefully dispose of waste materials as instructed by your teacher. Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Do not use cracked, chipped, or deeply scratched glassware, and never handle broken glass with your bare hands.
  • Lubricate glass tubing and thermometers with water or glycerin before inserting them into a rubber stopper. Do not apply force when inserting or removing a stopper from glassware while using a twisting motion.
  • Allow hot glass to cool before touching it. Hot glass shows no visible signs of its temperature and can cause painful burns. Do not allow the open end of a heated test tube to be pointed toward another person.
  • Do not use reflected sunlight for illuminating microscopes. Reflected sunlight can damage your eyes.
  • Tell your teacher if you have any medical problems that may affect your safety in doing lab work. These problems may include allergies, asthma, sensitivity to certain chemicals, epilepsy, or any heart condition.
  • Report all accidents and problems to your teacher immediately.


  • Preserved specimens showing signs of decay should not be used for lab observation or dissection. Alert your teacher to any problem with the specimen.
  • Dissecting instruments, such as scissors and scalpels, are sharp. Use a cutting motion directed away from yourself and your lab partner.
  • Be sure the specimen is pinned down firmly in a dissecting tray before starting a dissection.
  • In most cases very little force is necessary for making incisions. Excess force can damage delicate, preserved tissues.
  • Do not touch your eyes while handling preserved specimens. First wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap. Also wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap when you are finished with the dissection.

Letter to the Student

Dear Student:

One of the major differences between being a child and being an adult is the ability to reproduce, or have children. This unit, Reproduction, will help you understand the changes that take place in your body as you go from being a child, to being able to create a child. These changes are powerful, and bring with them many choices, enormous responsibilities, and wonderful possibilities.

The first part of this unit will focus on the parts of the female reproductive system, the parts of the male reproductive system, and how they work together. Then you will learn about pregnancy from the point of view of the mother as well as the developing child.

The second part of the unit discusses what it is like to be a parent, and the many responsibilities that come along with that role. You will learn about the different types of contraception (ways of preventing pregnancy), including abstinence. That means not having sexual intercourse, and it is still the only way to make sure you do not become pregnant or make someone pregnant.

The purpose of this unit is to give you the factual information that you will need to make healthy choices in your own life. This information, along with your own beliefs and the opinions of the important people in your life (such as your parents) will help you to grow from a child into a healthy, responsible adult.

Letter Home

Sections 1-5

Dear _____________,

Teaching young people about reproduction is not easy, yet there is hardly a topic that is more vital to their health and happiness. The purpose of this unit, which covers both the physical aspects of reproduction and the behavioral aspects of changing, growing, and maturing, is to give students the factual information that they will need in order to make healthy choices in their own lives.

The first section of the unit is an introduction to the sensitive topic of reproduction. Section 2 focuses on the reproductive systems of males and females. Section 3 explains about conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. Sections 4 and 5 discuss the issues and responsibilities of parenthood, as well as the special problems that can face adolescent parents.

Your student may have questions that arise from this study of the reproductive system. Since this unit deals with sensitive concepts and processes, we have established classroom guidelines that promote respectful and serious attitudes as students discuss reproduction. The information provided in class, individual beliefs, and the opinions of important people in their lives, such as you, will help them grow from children into healthy, responsible adults.



Reproduction Unit, Sections 1-5

Please complete and return by _____________ (date)


Student's name

I have read the above.


Parent's signature

Sections 6-9

Dear _____________,

Teaching young people about reproduction is not easy. Yet there is hardly a topic that is more vital to their health and happiness. Parenthood is one of the great blessings in life, but at the wrong time and under the wrong circumstances, it can also be a curse. As you have discovered, this unit deals with sensitive concepts and processes. Sections 1 to 5 of this unit covered the physical aspects of reproduction, such as the reproductive organs and pregnancy.

Sections 6 to 9 of the unit address the issues of why and how to prevent pregnancy. We consider first the reasons for family planning and then turn to a detailed consideration of contraception methods. Throughout the unit, we emphasize the fact that abstinence is the safest choice for adolescents. However, we also discuss other methods of preventing pregnancy for those adolescents who may need protection against pregnancy.

The final section, Section 9, addresses the critical process of making decisions. It is important, but insufficient, to know about contraceptive methods and abstinence. One has to make choices with full knowledge of the consequences of these choices. The overall purpose is to help young people to understand the issues, master the necessary information, make the right choices and to stick by them. It is our goal to help them learn to make responsible decisions.

Your student may have questions that arise from this disscussion of the reproductive system. The purpose of this unit is to give students the factual information that they will need to make healthy choices in their own lives. This information, along with individual beliefs, and the opinions of the important people in their lives, such as you, their parents, will help them grow from children into healthy, responsible adults.



Reproduction Unit, Sections 6-9

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Date Created:
Sep 08, 2014
Last Modified:
Sep 08, 2014
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