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8.1: Planning

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Key Ideas

  • 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 making 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.


Although abstinence is the preferred choice for adolescence, this section examines contraception for those who have chosen, or will choose, to become sexually active. The first activity is about choosing whether or not to become sexually active. The section stresses that in order for contraceptives to be effective they must be used properly, and even then, all methods, other than abstinence, have failure rates. Students are given six steps that they should follow to minimize their chances of getting pregnant should they choose to become sexually active. Barriers to practicing consistent birth control are identified so that students can eliminate them. The types of contraceptives are grouped by how they work. All methods of contraception discussed in the section list side effects, plusses and minuses, ideal effective rates, and typical failure rates. The final activity in the unit is a review of methods in which students create a comparative chart.



distinguish between making a positive decision to do something and being swept up by emotion.

identify situations that can lead to poor decision making.

describe the advantages and disadvantages of different types of contraception.

explain why each type of contraception works.

compare the failure rates and side effects of each type of contraception.


barrier methods, birth control, birth control pills, cervical cap, chemical barrier, condom, contraception, diaphragm, fertile, ideal failure rate, Norplant, oral contraception, sexuality, side-effects, spermicides, sterilization, typical failure rate, withdrawal

Student Materials

Activity 7-1: What Will They Choose?

  • Activity Report

Activity 7-2: Review of Methods

  • Activity Report

Teacher Materials

Activity 7-1: What Will They Choose?

  • Activity Report Answer Key

Activity 7-2: Review of Methods

  • Activity Report Answer Key

Advance Preparation

See Activities 7-1 and 7-2 in the Student Edition.

Activity 7-2: Review of Methods

  • Decide if you will use this lesson individually, in pairs, or in small groups.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Language Arts Debate, role-playing and discussion groups help students develop communication skills and can lead to essay or journal writing.

Social Studies The influence of the media is an issue in this unit.

Background Information

The best reference for contraception is Contraceptive Technology by Robert A. Hatcher, et al. 16th revised edition, Irvington Publishers, New York, 1994. It is clean, concise, and reliable.

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