These curricula materials are for educators working with young adults. It is a bit more in depth than the high school curriculum and discusses human sexuality in a broader sense.
You’re probably sick of seeing my fruity anatomical models, but I just can’t help myself from teaching them- at least I gave you a different picture. I love that activity. One of the participants in the class has trained to be an EMT and is now working on becoming an nurses assistant so he was able to explain the reproductive processes and anatomy. On the other hand, other folks had a hard time looking at pictures of the developing fetus and seeing progression from cells to a more complex organism. I think there just wasn’t enough context and exposure to those images. All the participants in our class had this piece of sex ed before so they knew all the basic parts of anatomy. We got into a nice discussion about reproductive anatomy and why it’s private and why it’s taboo.
When talking about reproduction, be careful not to limit conception to just intercourse (although this is critical information too). In our activity we framed sperm entering the vagina as through intercourse or a medical procedure. You could go into more depth and talk about different fertility options. Why? First, intercourse is not the only birth story and specifically it’s less likely to be the birth story for children with gay or lesbian parents. I think it’s important not to assume that heterosexuality is the norm. Second, many individuals have difficulty conceiving and need fertility support. I think it’s important not to assume fertility is the norm.
For the supplemental materials my co-facilitator and I got into an interesting situation. The book she wanted to use was only available in the children’s section at the public library. It was a really nice resource, but we were concerned about sending adults to the children’s section. All the reproduction books with pictures were in the children’s not fiction section. In the end, we decided to include it, but put a warning where it was located. I’m not sure this was the best choice, but that’s what we went with at the time. We also encouraged participants to watch “Life’s Greatest Miracle”. This is a great teaching tool, and they could stream it for free!
I’ve attached the lesson plan and supplemental materials below.
- Anatomy & Reproduction lesson plan
- Anatomy & Reproduction Worksheet Packet
- Anatomy-cheat-sheet (explains reproductive organs and their functions at two levels)
- labels (for fruity anatomical models)
- Reproduction Level 1 (this one has fewer pictures and the language is a little simpler)
- Reproduction Level 2 (this is more appropriate for individuals with no cognitive impairments)
- Connections Newsletter Week 2 (this is a newsletter that goes home with participants and expands on topics covered in the class)
My favorite comment from this session was, “Can we stop working on the worksheet for a minute? I just really want to listen!” We based the lesson the Nova’s “Life’s Greatest Miracle” (you can stream for free or buy the DVD for $20). We covered the material in one session but didn’t have time for the breakout groups and we went over our allotted time. We could have easily split it up into two sessions. The video is very well done and contains a lot of good information. We had the students fill out a worksheet to help them key into important points and break down euphemisms. It’s amazing how much they are learning but also what is slipping by. For example, as we’re watching the sperm and the egg meet I asked, “Is this happening inside the man’s body or inside the woman’s body?” and they didn’t really have any idea.
For the parent component of the session, we manly focused on two questions. 1) What do you think about preemptive birth control? and 2) What are your hopes and fears about your child becoming a parent in the future. Unfortunately, these are some of those questions without any easy answers.