Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Virtual Reproductive Systems

I'll admit it, and it's weird to say: I like teaching about puberty. Sure, it's uncomfortable for a little bit, and some of the kids are mortified. The kids see me as young and laid-back, so I try to make the unit as welcoming as possible. We start with basic changes and hygiene before shifting to the nitty gritty.

Eventually, we arrive at the time where we have to go over the male and female reproductive systems. I feel bad for the girls in my class, only because they have a male teacher (who is younger than some of their brothers!) telling them about how their bodies work. I have no idea what a period feels like. I can't tell you what it's like to shave my legs (although I did it track...another story) or the horror of bra shopping with mom.

The handouts we use of the two systems are very similar to the interactive diagrams I've linked below. These are provided by Kids Health, a great website I use often when I need to communicate in a way they will understand. It's an easy link because of their similarity, and I'm able to better explain not only the parts, but how they all interact as a whole. This helps the students engage in higher level thinking, shifting from knowledge all the way to analysis. As you click on a part, its location is highlighted and its function explained. The female diagram has a separate section on the menstrual cycle; I find this to be incredibly helpful in explaining something that is very complex (at least to sixth graders).

Sometimes, a colleague will walk by or poke their head in to drop something off, and the frontal view of the female reproductive system will be looking at them. Once, while rushing out to bus duty after last period, I left one of the diagrams on my Smart-board without noticing...and was treated to a bunch of wide eyed students looking into my room upon my return!

So, check out these interactive diagrams! You will need Macromedia Flash to view.

Female Reproductive System (Internal view, frontal view, menstrual cycle)

Male Reproductive System (Front angle view and side angle view)

NOTE: This is also when I perform my female reproductive system/menstruation demonstration, where I become the system. I saw Deb Tackman do it at MAHPERD in 2009. I really have to post a video of it, because it brings a visual, live demonstration right in front of the students that I have found very helpful.

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