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5.1: Planning

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

  • 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 often a result of love and a desire to continue the family.
  • Families are changing. Today, people wait longer to marry and have children, and more single parents are raising children. (Only one out of four 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.


This section explores the complex issues surrounding becoming a parent. Students examine the historical context of parenting in this country. The downward trend in the fertility rate and the changes in the traditional family are discussed. Students discuss the options open to infertile couples who wish to be parents. Activity 4-2: Newborn is a parenting simulation that lasts a full week, and therefore may extend beyond this unit. In it students become responsible for the complete care and feeding of an egg baby and must behave like responsible parents.



\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} identify reasons for having (or not having) children.

\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} simulate parenting for five days.

\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} describe the feelings and responsibilities of being a parent.

\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} examine options for infertile couples.


adopt, artificial insemination, fertility rate, infertile, in vitro fertilization, sterile, surrogate mother

Student Materials

Activity 4-1: Why Have Children?

  • Activity Report

Activity 4-2: Newborn

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

Teacher Materials

Activity 4-1: Why Have Children?

  • None required

Activity 4-2: Newborn

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

Advance Preparation

See Activities 4-1 and 4-2 in the Student Edition.

Activity 4-2: Newborn

  • 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 school-wide 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.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Language Arts One Mini Activity requires students to define new terms. Another asks the students to write a poem. Role-playing and discussion groups help students develop communication skills, and can lead to essay or journal writing. The activity on newborns lends itself to a daily diary.

Social Studies The changing role of the American family is discussed, as is the relatively brief history of adolescence. The role of economics as a factor in family size is addressed. There are many opportunities to discuss the different ways in which family life is shaped by culture.

Background Information

The key concept to establish here is the discrepancy between the biological capacity for parenthood that is present following puberty, and psycho-social readiness to be formed that typically takes pan of, or most of, the decade that follows. This will lay down the groundwork for discussing Adolescent Pregnancy.

The new assisted reproductive technologies rely on fresh or frozen sperm, eggs, embryos, and/or a “borrowed” uterus, in various combinations. It is important to point out the benefits of these advances to infertile couples, as well as the social and ethical complications they have generated.

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