Activity 1-1: Teaching Children about Reproduction
Summary In this activity students discuss how the subject of reproduction can best be explained to children.
✓ simulate the roles of parents and teachers as they try to decide when, where, and how children will learn about reproduction.
✓ apply the skills of respectful, attentive listening as they exchange ideas.
✓ evaluate and select the most effective approach to teaching about reproduction.
Estimated Time 40 minutes
This activity has Health connections. It can be extended to include:
Language Arts Write a story about a parent trying to explain the facts about the reproductive system to one of his or her children.
- Describe the setting, what is actually said in dialogue form, and the child's reaction.
- Your story may be either humorous, poignant, factual, or fictional.
Create a collection of scenarios in a scrapbook from literature, books, magazines, newspapers, TV shows, and movies that describe someone either teaching or learning about the reproductive system, and their reactions to this experience.
Social Studies In many cultures there are fanciful stories told to children about reproduction when they are young. For example, in some parts of this country children are told they came from the “cabbage patch,” or that the stork brought them. Find examples of reproduction myths in other countries and cultures.
Prerequisites and Background Information
The class would benefit from having previous experiences in which they have shared personal experiences in a class setting. The comfort level of the class might improve if words such as “intercourse,” “penis,” “erection,” “vagina,” and other terms associated with reproduction are introduced prior to this lesson.
Introduce Activity 1-1 by reading the introduction to Activity 1-1.
Step 1 Ask students to think about or write down how they learned about reproduction. Some students may feel uncomfortable discussing this subject. Instead of relating their own experience, they might want to relate the experience of a friend.
Steps 2-4 Group discussions will progress more easily if each group has an equal number of assertive talkers and quiet listeners. 4-6 students per group seems to be effective. You can choose to assign roles or allow students to assign roles within the group. Some groups will feel comfortable if the teacher circulates around the room and listens, while other groups may feel inhibited. You are the best judge of this. It is important for the teacher to be alert to the feelings and sensitivities of the individual group members. As students discuss the activity, make sure they are using the correct terms.
Conclude Activity 1-1 by asking each group to report any conclusions they have determined.
Use the completion of the written report and student discussion to assess if students can
✓ explain why it is so difficult for many parents to instruct their children on this topic.
✓ identify what should be taught by the parents.
✓ identify what should be taught by the school.
✓ describe the conflict that sometimes arises between what is taught in the school and what is taught at home.
✓ explain why some teachers may feel uncomfortable teaching reproduction.
✓ determine the correct terminology when discussing the reproductive system.
- A suggested response will be provided upon request. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What body functions serve dual purposes, one biological function and one pleasurable function? (Hint: Do you eat only because your body needs food?)
In the rest of this unit you will learn all about reproduction. What do you already know? What questions do you hope to have answered? How comfortable will you be asking the questions you need answered? If you are not comfortable asking out loud, consider turning this assignment in to your teacher so the questions can be answered privately.
- Sample answers to these questions will be provided upon request. Please send an email to email@example.com to request sample answers.
- What is the difference between sexual intercourse and reproduction?
- The distinction between reproduction and sex is important. Explain why this distinction is important to learn about, but difficult to get information on as an adolescent
Activity 1-1 Report: Teaching Children about Reproduction (Student Reproducible)
In this simulation, half of the group will assume the role of parents who must decide if, when, and how to tell their children the truth about reproduction. The other half will assume the role of teachers who must decide at what grade level, and to what extent, reproduction will be taught in the classroom.
- When will you first tell your child about reproduction and having babies? Will you wait for them to ask, or will you bring up the topic yourself? Will you give this task to someone else?
- Should the mother, father, or both do the talking? Should mothers talk to the girls and fathers talk to the boys, or does it really matter?
- Should boys and girls be told the same thing?
- What will you say to the child?
- Will you cover everything at one time or at different times?
- What attitudes do you want your child to have with regard to reproduction?
- In what grade and in what class should reproduction be introduced and discussed?
- How should topics taught in school be linked to topics taught at home? Should the home and the school teach the same thing? Should certain topics be taught at school? Should certain topics only be taught at home?
- As a group, discuss what you want to report back to the class. The recorder can check or circle the information to be shared with the class.
- Confidentiality must be kept if some member of your group tells the group something that they do not want to have shared with the class as a whole.
- The presenter will read the summaries to the class, but any group member can respond to questions asked by class members.