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2.1: Planning

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

  • Growth refers to an increase in size. Development refers not only to growth, but also a change in function. Chronological age and developmental age are not always the same for everyone. Each person matures at his or her own rate-normal development can occur over a broad range of ages.
  • In the human life cycle, puberty is the physical transition from childhood to adulthood, from reproductive immaturity to reproductive maturity. Adolescence refers to both psychological and social development.
  • Puberty can be a time of confusing emotions and changes, complicated by comparing oneself to one's peers. Differences between peers can be misinterpreted as abnormalities and can create stress.


This section serves as an introduction to the many changes of puberty. In it students distinguish between growth and development and learn the difference between chronological age and developmental age. Through activities they see that even though our bodies change, we maintain a certain likeness throughout our lives, and that there is a very wide range of “normal” in terms of when changes take place and the order in which they occur.



\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} distinguish between growth and development.

\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} distinguish between chronological and developmental age.

\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} identify physical characteristics that remain the same and those that change over time.

\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} become more comfortable discussing the human body in an appropriate way.

\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} note the wide range of differences between individuals at various stages of adolescent development.

\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} understand that these differences are normal.


adolescence, averages, chronological age, development, developmental age, growth, life cycle, maturation, normal development, puberty, reproduce

Student Materials

Activity 1-1: You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby

  • Activity Report
  • One picture provided by each student

Activity 1-2: Examining Differences

  • Activity Report
  • Resource-1 copy per group (suggested group size is 3-5) OR teacher-created transparency

Teacher Materials

Activity 1-1: You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby

  • Activity Report Answer Key made by teacher
  • Poster or bulletin board space for posting pictures
  • 1 Picture of teacher as a child (Optional)

Activity 1-2: Examining Differences

  • Activity Report Answer Key
  • Resource
  • Teacher-made transparency of picture labeled “Body Differences” (Optional)

Advance Preparation

See Activities 1-1 and 1-2 in the student edition.

Activity 1-1: You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby

  • If you want to have this Activity ready for the first day of the unit, assign students the task of bringing in their pictures the week before.
  • If you are going to mount the pictures on a poster, prepare the poster for mounting.

Activity 1-2: Examining Differences

  • Read the directions to the students and decide how you are most comfortable addressing this topic with your particular group of students.
  • If you choose, use the Resource to make a transparency of the picture “Body Differences.”
  • If you intend to give the students their own copies, prepare one per student.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Language Arts Discussion groups help students develop communication skills and can lead to essay or journal writing.

Social Studies Rites of passage vary from culture to culture and are often an important part of the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Background Information

There are two concepts that you need to get across to students in this section. First, change is a necessary and ever-present process in all living things. We change from the moment we are conceived to the moment we die. What is special about puberty is that the process of physical change is accelerated. These changes bring to culmination the process of physical development or growth spurt.

The second concept is more difficult to get across because it appears contradictory. The process of development entails both change and constancy. You will need to use examples to get this point across. For example, if you inflate a balloon, you do not end up with a different balloon, but one that looks and, in some ways, is different. Getting this point across will also help students understand that we can maintain a sense of psychological identity or sameness while we go through various phases of life.

There are several reasons why puberty requires psychological adjustments that may be difficult for some. First is the need to modify one's body image. The slower pace of growth earlier makes it easier to gradually adapt to growth. The faster pace of change in puberty requires faster adaptation. Reproductive maturation also can cause anxiety because teenagers can't usually talk about these changes freely with their parents or peers. Second is the need to adapt to the changed responses of others. For example, a girl with developing breasts attracts the sort of attention that she did not earlier. Finally, the many hormonal changes of puberty may affect the person's moods. Although we do not fully understand how this works, it is important to keep in mind that some of the emotional experiences of puberty may be biologically influenced.

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