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Activity 4-1: Why Have Children?

PLAN

Summary In this activity students consider the ramifications of parenthood.

Objective

Students:

\checkmark identify reasons for having (or not having) children.

Student Materials

  • Activity Report

Teacher Materials

  • None required

Advance Preparation

None required

Estimated Time 20-40 minutes

Interdisciplinary Connections

This activity can be performed in Guidance or Health Education.

Language Arts Students can write two scenarios, one about what their life would be like 20 years from now with children, and another what their life would be like without children.

Prerequisites and Background Information

None required

IMPLEMENT

Introduce Activity 4-1 by telling students that over one million teenagers become parents each year in the United States. Most teenage pregnancies are unplanned. Emphasize the importance of thinking about parenthood before becoming a parent.

Step 1 Allow 5-10 minutes for students to respond individually to the questions in their textbook. These responses should be written on a separate paper and taken with them for group discussions.

Step 2 Divide the class into groups of about 4 students per group. Give each group one Activity Report. Each group will select one discussion leader and one reporter. Allow sufficient time for the groups to share their responses and record them.

Step 3 As each group reports to the class, you might write the most common reasons given for having children on the chalkboard, as well as the most important things prospective parents should know and be able to do. See which statements repeat from group to group.

Conclude Activity 4-1 by asking the class the following questions and discussing their responses.

  • What were the most frequently given reasons? Why do you think they were given so often?
  • Did girls and boys come up with similar reasons or different reasons? What might the reasons be for these differences if there are any?

ASSESS

Use the group reports and class discussion to assess if students can:

\checkmark explain the variety of reasons why people would want children.

\checkmark articulate the knowledge and skills a prospective parent should have.

Family in Poetry Students write a poem about things important to them when they eventually have a family.

What Do You Think?

Do you think members of your generation will marry at younger or older ages than present trends (age 25 for women and 27 for men)? Will men and women differ in this respect? Would you like to have many children, a few children, or no children?

What Do You Think?

Would you adopt a child? Would you adopt instead of having your own biological child if you were fertile? Would you adopt a child from another country?

New Terms in Reproduction Students define the terms sperm bank, embryo transfer, and micro-injection, and they explain how they relate to childless couples.

Activity 4-2: Newborn

PLAN

Summary In this activity the students simulate the responsibilities of parenthood by adopting a raw egg (the newborn) and caring for this newborn for 5 days.

Objectives

Students:

\checkmark simulate parenting for five days.

\checkmark record their activities.

\checkmark describe the feelings and responsibilities of being a parent.

Student Materials

  • Resource 1
  • Raw egg
  • Hard candy
  • Student-created supplies for newborn

Teacher Materials

  • Resource 2: Letter Home
  • Resource 3: Letter to Faculty and Staff
  • 1 dozen raw eggs in reserve

Advance preparation

Send a letter of introduction to each of the parents and other teachers involved with your students approximately one week prior to the beginning of this activity. A sample letter is included in Resource 2. Many parents may not want their children to participate in the 2:00 A.M. feeding requirement. Decide how you will allow for that without penalizing the student.

Shortly thereafter, if necessary, a parent meeting can be held to explain the purposes and procedures of this activity to those parents who have questions or concerns.

Purchase eggs and hard candy if you are providing them. Keep the eggs refrigerated until they are issued.

It is essential to get the support of other students and teachers who may not be involved in this activity. Resource 3 is a sample letter that can be sent to other teachers. Issuing raw eggs can obviously be a potential problem without schoolwide support. It is possible to substitute other items to represent the babies if you feel it is necessary. Students can create paper doll babies, which are also very fragile, to use instead. Work with the student council, leadership classes, advisories, administration, etc. to set the foundation for a successful experience.

Estimated Time 7 days

Interdisciplinary Connections

Language Arts Read to your “newborn” during reading class. Select and evaluate good books for children.

Write an original story for children in language arts class. Write and tell an original story to your newborn. Write creative descriptions of daily events in the life of your newborn for your diary.

Math Students can create a budget in mathematics class for their role as a parent and maintain accurate records for the week.

Community Service Volunteer to baby-sit for someone who needs help after school.

Art Students can design toys, mobiles, and wallpaper for the newborn's room. Draw a picture of the newborn to carry in a wallet. Design clothing.

Social Studies Create a service for the parents of the newborns. Build an inventory, advertise, and carry on the business for the week. Keep accurate records. Study child-rearing practices in other countries or among the various ethnic groups in your state or community. Study current events and report on effective and ineffective child-rearing practices.

Prerequisites and Background Information

Students should know the basic needs of a child.

IMPLEMENT

Introduce Activity 4-2 by asking the students to tell you what they think would be easy about taking care of a baby. What do they think would be hard? Write their ideas on the board. Tell them you will save their list until next week when they can see how they feel after being parents for a week. If you want the activity to run from Monday to Friday, then you will need to introduce it on Thursday of the preceding week.

Thursday: Issue an Activity Report to each participant and review the entire procedure for this activity. This activity is for single parents only. Sharing the duties of parenthood with a spouse can be very complicated. Other issues besides parenthood can distract from the purposes of this activity.

Friday: Review the creative aspects of this activity. Do any students visualize a newborn service-related business they can either establish or work in to generate additional money? What services/articles would be needed?

Ideas: food, clothing, blankets, baby buggies, baby carriers, books, baby-sitting, diaper service, room decorations, etc.

  • Review the “Cost” section of the Activity Report.
  • Costs for services must remain within these parameters.
  • All articles are reduced in size to fit the newborn.

Weekend: Students prepare for the arrival (Monday) of their newborns. They are to bring the basic necessities with them to class: food, clothing, diapers, baby carrier, wash basin, a diary to record daily activities, and a name for the newborn. Entrepreneurs should prepare advertising, set costs, and prepare sample wares.

Steps 1-5

Monday: The newborns arrive! Issue one per student.

  • Demonstrate how the newborn is to be fed, bathed, and changed.
  • Businesses can set up their shops and post advertising.

Special note: If a newborn “dies” (breaks) there must be a complete written account in the diary and an oral explanation must be made to the class so that other parents can avoid that situation. The newborn can then be replaced.

Tuesday-Thursday: The basic daily routine includes:

  • feeding and bathing the newborn,
  • changing the newborn's diaper,
  • providing intellectual stimulation,
  • socializing with other newborns,
  • carrying on business affairs,
  • maintaining a ledger to show income and expenses for the business, and
  • sharing information with other “parents.”

Times for feeding, bathing, and intellectual stimulation should be quiet times in the classroom. Suitable background music might be played to set the mood. (Is this a business opportunity?)

Friday: The newborns are returned to class and:

  • diary is completed,
  • daily activities are recorded,
  • costs are recorded,
  • parent signature for each listed home activity is reviewed,
  • diaper pail with “soiled” diapers is shown,
  • original hard candy is returned, and
  • any newborn not returned in a “healthy” condition must have a full explanation written in the diary with an oral explanation given to the class.

Conclude Activity 4-2 by having a discussion about how parenting WAS as opposed to how they thought it would be. If you'd like, give each student a certificate for responsible parenting.

Students are required to return the following:

  • the original, “healthy” newborn
  • the diary with the daily events recorded and signed as required
  • the diaper pail with “soiled” diapers (dated and signed)
  • the original hard candy
  • the expense account listing all income and expenses
  • Students are required to participate in classroom activities and discussions during which they demonstrate good parenting skills.

ASSESS

Use the written data, logs, items submitted, participation in classroom activities, and the discussions on parenting to assess if students can

\checkmark explain the basic needs of a baby.

\checkmark demonstrate conscientious effort to care for the newborn by assuming and completing the assigned responsibilities.

Review Questions/Answers

  • Sample answers to these questions will be provided upon request. Please send an email to teachers-requests@ck12.org to request sample answers.
  1. How did children help the family survive in earlier generations?
  2. Why do families have fewer children today than they used to?
  3. Name and define three ways couples who cannot conceive can now become parents.
  4. How is divorce affecting family size and structure?

Activity 4-1 Report: Why Have Children? (Student Reproducible)

Instructions

1. Select a discussion leader and a reporter.

2. The discussion leader should ask each person to give the reasons they thought people might choose to have children.

3. The reporter should list the responses below.

Reasons for becoming a parent

4. After all the reasons have been given, have the group identify the three most commonly given reasons.

5. Next, the discussion leader should ask all the group members to give their answer to what people should know and be able to do before they become parents to make sure children are well cared for.

6. The reporters should list the responses below.

Things potential parents should know and be able to do

7. As a group, identify the most important things to think about before deciding to have children. List them.

Activity 4-2 Resource 1: Newborn Guidelines for Newborn Care (Student Reproducible)

Instructions

As most parents discover, you will have to rely on your own instincts and creativity to solve the numerous challenges of raising a child. These instructions present the basic requirements for this simulation. Read and follow these requirements carefully.

A. These basic needs must be met.

  • food: preparation of formula
  • shelter: room with crib, decorations, toys, etc.
  • clothing: blanket, daily wearing apparel, diapers
  • protection: closely supervised, car seat, carrying device, etc.
  • love: held, cared for
  • intellectual stimulation: talking, singing, reading, etc.

Keep a daily record.

Create a diary or “Baby Book” in which you will record daily activities with your newborn. In the Baby Book, record:

  • dates, times, and descriptions of diaper changes, baths, and feedings (with parents / guardian signatures that attest to the correctness of all recorded home activities)
  • any times you left your newborn with anyone and signatures of the individual(s) who took care of your newborn in your absence, and
  • an accurate record of all income and expenses.

Use this diary for any creative writing, such as your feelings when your newborn came into your life, funny things your newborn did, or reactions toward your newborn from other people. Be as creative as possible. You may also include photographs or drawings of your newborn in various activities during the five days.

B. Required daily activities for newborn: include the following.

Bath Bathe your newborn at least once a day. To bathe your newborn,

  • hold your newborn over a bowl of water for 5 consecutive minutes,
  • place a hard candy on the head of the newborn during this time to help you focus your attention. Make sure you return this hard candy at the end of the simulation.

Diaper Change the newborn's diaper 6 times a day, at least 2 hours apart. One change must be done after the 2:00 A.M. feeding.

  • Remove a “soiled” diaper and place into the diaper pail.
    • A diaper is “soiled” by writing the date and time of removal upon it.
    • All “soiled” diapers and the pail will be turned in at the end of the simulation.
  • Place a clean diaper on your newborn and securely fasten it.

Prepare formula Prepare your newborn's formula once a day using the following recipe.

  • A quart of water must be boiled and divided into 4 equal size portions for use later in the day.

Feeding Feed the newborn 4 times a day, at least 3 hours apart, One feeding must be at 2:00 A.M.

  • Newborn must be held for 10 minutes with a hard candy on its head.
  • Newborn will be “burped” at the end of the feeding. At the end of the feeding remove the hard candy. Remember to return it at the end of the five days.
  • Dispose of one-quarter of your formula at each feeding.

Intellectually stimulate your newborn at least 1 time a day for 10 continuous minutes.

  • Read, talk, and/or sing to your newborn.
    • Carry a book with you to use during this time.
    • Learn some songs you can sing such as “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

Care for your newborn at all times! The newborn must always be in the presence of you or another responsible person.

  • Remember, if another person cares for the newborn, you must get their signature, record the time, and write the circumstances in your diary.

Cost Remember to record all costs of your newborn's care accurately. For this simulation you have the following budget.

You earn $5.00 per hour. You work 6.5 hours per day for 5 days a week. Therefore, your gross income is $162.50 for the next five days.

Your expenses are

  • diapers @ $10 per 24,
  • formula @ $20 per week,
  • powders and baby lotions @ $5 per week,
  • baby-sitting @ $2.50 per hour,
  • transportation @ $1.00 per ride (a ride is considered as a one-way trip to school), and
  • rent (no one will have free rent for these five days). Your rent for the next five days is estimated at $90.00.

Remember to record all your income and expenses in your daily diary. How close were you able to remain within your weekly income?

C. Evaluation Criteria

Your success in caring for your newborn will be determined by:

  • your diary: daily events recorded and signed when required,
  • your return of your original, healthy newborn,
  • your diaper- pail with “soiled” diapers (dated and signed),
  • your original hard candy,
  • your expense account recording all income and expenses, and
  • your participation in class activities and discussions.

Activity 4-2 Resource 2: Newborn (Student Reproducible)

Letter Home

Dear ____________________,

As part of our Human Biology curriculum we are now studying the Reproduction Unit. Part of this unit discusses conception and birth. It is hard for a student to imagine the responsibilities of parenthood. We will use a week-long simulation to provide some sense of these responsibilities. Your student will adopt a “newborn” and care for it. The original “newborn,” a raw egg, must be returned in a “healthy” state at the end of the week.

To make the simulation as realistic as possible, the “newborn” will need to be bathed, fed, changed, and intellectually stimulated on a scheduled basis. One of the scheduled feeding and changing times is 2:00 A.M. Formula (a quart of boiled water) will need to be prepared daily. The “newborn” must be in the constant presence of its “parent” or another responsible individual. The “parent” will be given an imaginary weekly income and must live within his/her means. The “parent” will keep a daily diary of activities. You will be asked to attest to the truth of activities that took place at your home.

The “newborns” will arrive on ______________. Your student will receive a sheet detailing specifics before this date. Please let your student be the responsible individual for this activity.

We know that this simulation may disrupt your family schedule, and that is the reason for this advanced warning. We apologize for any inconvenience. However, we feel there is no better way for students to learn about the responsibilities of parenthood.

Sincerely,

__________________________________________

Activity 4-2 Newborn

Please complete and return by ______________________ (date).

________________________

Student's name

I have read the above and understand the basics of the simulation.

________________________

Parent's signature

Activity 4-2 Resource 3: Newborn (Student Reproducible)

Letter to Faculty and Staff

Dear ____________________,

As part of our Human Biology curriculum we are now studying the Reproduction Unit. Part of this unit discusses conception and birth. It is hard for a student to imagine the responsibilities of parenthood. We will use a week-long simulation to provide some sense of these responsibilities. Your student will adopt a “newborn” and care for it. The original “newborn,” a raw egg, must be returned in a “healthy” state at the end of the week.

To make the simulation as realistic as possible, the “newborn” will need to be bathed, fed, changed, and intellectually stimulated on a scheduled basis. Formula (a quart of boiled water) will need to be prepared daily. The “newborn” must be in the constant presence of its “parent” or another responsible individual. The “parent” will be given an imaginary weekly income and must live within his/her means. The “parent” will keep a daily diary of activities.

The “newborns” will arrive on ______________.

We know that this simulation may potentially disrupt your classroom, and that is the reason for this advanced warning. We apologize for any inconvenience. However, we feel there is no better way for students to learn about the responsibilities of parenthood.

Sincerely,

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