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Key Idea

  • 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.


This section serves as an introduction to the unit on reproduction. Since this is a topic that is somewhat difficult to talk about, students begin with an activity on when and how children should learn about reproduction. In addition, the section introduces the idea that reproduction is the result of the union of the sperm and the egg after sexual intercourse, but that sex and reproduction are not always the same thing.



\checkmark assume the roles of parents and teachers as they try to decide when, where, and how children should learn about reproduction.


adolescence, egg, puberty, reproduction, semen, sex organs, sexual intercourse, sperm

Student Materials

Activity 1-1: Teaching Children about Reproduction

  • Activity Report

Teacher Materials

Activity 1-1: Teaching Children about Reproduction

  • None required

Advance Preparation

See Activity 1-1 in the Student Edition.

Activity 1-1: Teaching Children about Reproduction

  • None required

Interdisciplinary Connection

Language Arts Discussion groups help students develop communication skills. The Activity requires personal writing.

Background Information

Although people engage in sex most of the time without reproductive intent or consequence, from an evolutionary point of view we can best understand sex in terms of its reproductive aspects. In other words, the structure and function of our sex organs have evolved into what they are, in ways that have enhanced their reproductive potential.

This is a key point to get across at the outset of this chapter-in behavioral terms, sex serves many purposes, of which reproduction is only one; but biologically, reproduction is the key to understanding sexuality.

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Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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