A Challenge of Seventh Grade: A Physiology Unit on Human Sexuality
My last blog covered a general overview of the free rough guides available for the middle school years with a focus on highlights and challenges of Sixth grade. In this blog I would like to discuss one possible way to teach a three week main lesson on Human Fertility/Sexuality in Seventh grade.
In Donna’s second edition of From Nature Stories to Natural Science, she discussed (115) that sexual education is important but quite personal to an individual family, so she felt it inappropriate to say very much on the topic. And in the Rough Guide to Seventh Grade, she briefly mentions the “I Find My Star” resource. As an update to this, I wanted to recommend the text that I used with my daughters, available at www.waldorfbooks.com:Human Fertility, Coming of Age Curriculum Series (Support of the Inner and Outer Changes in Puberty and Adolescence) by Linda E. Knodle, currently $29.95. This book is an enlargement on the original” I Find My Star” resource. There are additional related resources on the website for 7th- 8th grade as well.
The book is quite good at laying out a detailed three week lesson block for use in middle schools. There are good outlines and spelling words and illustrations in the book and I feel that it is true to the imaginative and creative spirit of Waldorf inspired education. Below is an outline of how I adapted the book for use with only one child in homeschooling.
Blessings on your Journey
Human Fertility: three week lesson block
Teacher Prep: Aside from the primary text mentioned above, I also ordered used from Amazon, Coming-Of-Age, Traditions and Rituals Around the World, by Karen Liptak (to pick an indigenous tribe to study)and A Child is Born by Lennart Nilsson ( to illustrate stages of pregnancy). I also had a large illustrated book on the human body. I did not cover everything in the primary text, but it is clearly laid out if you want to lengthen the main lesson. Note that each week you will develop a cumulative list of spelling words throughout the week ( about 15 words) for a quiz given the following Monday.
In Class: Read the poem from the text,” I Find My Star” together. Have the child take any part of the verse and create an image using black construction paper and cray pastels. Then take about 15 minutes to have the child write down a paragraph on what the poem means to her/him. Correct the writing together. Next, lead a discussion with the child on coming of age in indigenous cultures.
Have your child choose an indigenous culture and help facilitate the child’s research on how the indigenous culture acknowledged the transition from childhood to young adulthood. Have the child create an outline that includes relevant rites of passage, rituals/rules and ceremonies. Include what was important to this culture in regards to their children becoming young adults. Be sure your child understands that rituals united the individual with the tribal culture and with nature.
Homework, work on draft of a report on the culture.
Complete the one page report on the indigenous culture ( correct for entry into MLB). Child also illustrates the report with a relevant drawing. Class discussion is on adolescence in today’s culture: Discussion points-
- What did you appreciate about the culture from the ceremony you studied? What did you like/not like?
- Do you know anyone that has had a coming of age initiation?
- Common Threads handout- Look at the emergence of adolescence handout (copy from book). How do you see your own adolescence as different? Dow does the media target young people?
- Describe some of the changes from your (parent’s) generation to this time period.
- How do you see yourself as emancipating from your family?
- Do you agree/disagree with adolescent rebellion and what evidence of it do you see in yourself?
If time, you can do a short dictation on ” Adolescence in Today’s Culture” from the book and correct in class.
End class with a writing: My Talents and Gifts. Ask these questions orally: What are your special talents and gifts? What support do you receive now and what do you need to further develop your talents and gifts?
Homework: Copy dictation and My Talents and Gifts into MLB and study for Monday spelling quiz.
Day Four/Five: Stereotyping and Listening
Discussion in class:
- What are some common examples of stereotyping among teens? (“nerd, “jock”, “geek”, etc.)
- Discuss how stereotyping puts an individual into a box with a label and interferes with listening and enjoying good communication.
- What are some examples of adult stereotypes of teens?
- What are some examples of how teens stereotype adults?
- How does it feel to be stereotyped? How does it get in the way of your true self?
Writing Exercise: Your True Self. Write a reflection paragraph. Answer each question. (orally give each question) Who am I?; What am I capable of?; Who am I becoming?
Do some of the listening exercises from the text: giving and receiving; personal space; I feel/think rather than you should statements; reflective listening; facts/feelings/judgments.
Short writing exercise: What does it mean to truly listen to another person? How do you know if someone is listening to you?
Note that spelling words from today can be added to list for quiz next week.
Homework: Copy reflection ( Your True Self) and listening exercise into MLB; study spelling
Week Two: Human Fertility
Spelling quiz from week one
Discuss the signs of puberty in both boys and girls and create a list.
Add new spelling words
Homework: Write a one half to one page report on the signs of puberty in both boys and girls
Day Two: Seasons of the Woman’s Fertility Cycle
In class: Review written work;
Discussion: Define fertility and puberty and specific onset of puberty in girls. Discuss the seasons of a woman’s fertility cycle; discuss ideas about menstruation in other cultures; discuss female hormones
Drawing: ( in class) Draw the seasons of the woman’s fertility cycle from book illustration
Write ( in class) : Do a draft ( half page) report on the menstrual cycle using the 4 seasons as images.
Homework: Correct written work and put into MLB with the drawing; study spelling
Review written work
Discuss and show images of the female reproductive organs; start colored drawing of organs.
Homework: Finish a colored drawing with labels of the female reproductive organs. Write a 1/2 to one page report on the Journey of the Ovum from Ovary to Womb ( see text). Study the added spelling words.
Review work; Copy the female organ word definitions into the female organ area.
Do spelling ( and possible definition) pretest as needed
Week Three: The Male Reproductive System
In class discussion on the development of sperm with illustrations. Create new spelling words.
Draw: Begin to draw the male reproductive system and label it with definitions
Homework: Write a three paragraph essay on male reproduction and its stages; finish drawing and study new spelling words
Day Two/Three- Stages of Pregnancy
Review written work and put into MLB with drawing. Review the male and female reproductive systems for a test ( plus spelling test) on Friday.
In class discussion: Fertilization through 12 weeks of pregnancy on day two and rest of pregnancy on day three.
Discuss the first trimester of pregnancy using A Child is Born for illustrations. Begin an in class draft of 3 paragraph essay on the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Correct draft. Hand out test( see book)
Homework: Finished essay goes into MLB; study for spelling quiz and test
Day Four/Five: Give the test and spelling quiz on Friday in class; all quizzes into MLB.