3 Fun Puberty Review Activities
Puberty is a topic that our health curriculum covers over multiple grade levels. In sixth grade health classes, the focus is on the basic changes that occur throughout the body and mind during puberty, as well as the male and female reproductive systems.
Later, in eighth grade, our human sexuality curriculum is based on the skill of analyzing influences, meaning that we get students thinking about how their personal values and beliefs and external influences such as society and social media impact their views on human sexuality. The curriculum is set up in a way that students still need to recall and use the knowledge they learned in sixth grade, so reviewing is a crucial part of the unit.
Below are a few fun ways to review puberty content that won’t take up a ton of class time:
Human Anatomy “Map” Review
This idea came from the geography teachers in my school, who place maps in sheet protectors and have students label them using dry erase markers as a formative assessment tool or a study technique.
During a puberty unit, I’ll put diagrams of the male and female reproductive systems in sheet protectors and have students label the parts. The activity is engaging and fun for students, and they’re able to make corrections as needed.
Puberty Review Using Plickers
This activity requires some (free!) initial set-up on the website.
Plickers is a formative assessment tool that engages all students. To start, each student receives a Plickers card, which they rotate based on what they think the answer to a question is: A, B, C, or D. You then scan the room with a smartphone or tablet, and results appear instantly on the board.
I use this method when reviewing the changes that may or may not occur during puberty. Answers are set up as follows: A. Girls, B. Boys, C. Both Boys and Girls, D. Does Not Happen. For example, if the change is “underarm and pubic hair growth,” students would rotate their card so that ‘C’ is on top.
Engaging your class in this way allows for 100 percent student participation, and if it’s kept anonymous, students won’t be embarrassed if their puberty knowledge is inaccurate. A brief discussion after each question allows for additional checks for understanding.
Heads Up: Male & Female Reproductive Systems
This is an idea my colleague, Danielle LaRocque, came up with as a fun, interactive way to review the male and female reproductive systems. It’s based on Heads Up, a game Ellen DeGeneres plays on her show (and an app you can download on your smartphone.)
For class use, we printed and laminated cards containing the names of parts of the male and female reproductive systems. In small groups, one student will select a card, and hold it on their forehead so that only their group members can see it. The group members will use their notes and diagrams to provide clues to the student with the card, who then has to guess what body part is on the card on their forehead. The game challenges students to explain those body parts in different ways.
As with all puberty-related activities, be sure to go over the ground rules at the start of each class to ensure that students feel safe and comfortable.
*Note that these activities can be adapted for any age level and content area.