- Sex Ed Open Learning Project
- Health, Medicine and Nursing
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- Middle School
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Anatomy & Periods
Students will learn about the basics of sexual and reproductive anatomy, as well as periods and menstrual care. This lesson is not intended to be divided by gender. We recommend all students learn together, as there is value in understanding all body types and functions, additionally this practice can help students de-stigmatize the natural variations in bodies and experiences.
Anatomy & Periods - 7th Grade, Day 2
Anatomy & Periods
Students will learn about the basics of sexual and reproductive anatomy, as well as periods and menstrual care. This lesson is not intended to be divided by gender. We recommend all students learn together, as there is value in understanding all body types and functions, additionally, this practice can help students de-stigmatize the natural variations in bodies and experiences.
1 hour, but could take more time depending on engagement and educator preference.
Author of Lesson
Caden DeLoach & Adaline Padlina, Linn County Public Health
Caden DeLoach & Adaline Padlina, Linn County Public Health
- Demonstrate proficiency in understanding the essential aspects of sexual/reproductive anatomy.
- Learn about menstruation and different options for menstrual products.
- Listen while withholding judgment about the new or unfamiliar.
Aligned Standards, Performance Indicators, and Essential Questions
Standard 3. Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information, products, and services to enhance health.
Performance Indicators Covered
HE.3.7.7 Describe sources of medically-accurate information about human sexual and reproductive anatomy.
HE.3.7.8 Describe medically accurate sources of information about puberty, development and sexuality.
Essential Question(s) Covered
What ways are you changing as you grow older (physically, socially, and emotionally)? How do you feel about these changes?
What parts of our bodies are considered sexual and why? What are some things that these body parts do?
Information & Resources for Educators
Information for Educators
Before the Lesson
- Make sure parents/caregivers know you’ll be teaching this lesson. You can share this lesson with them and be available to answer questions so that they can opt their child out of the lessons if they feel it necessary.
- Make sure you have let students know that you will be covering sexuality education ahead of the lessons, and give them an option to email or speak to you privately if they don’t feel like they can join. Make a plan with them for an alternative lesson/place to be if needed.
- Make and share with students a clear plan of where they can go if they become emotionally activated during a lesson, and how they can let you know without drawing attention to themselves. Some options might include a school counselor’s office, the library, etc. Provide students with a resource list that includes a text/call hotline for those who have witnessed or experienced child, domestic or sexual abuse. Most counties have local lines, or you can use some of the supplemental resources from the above section.
- Prepare a clearly labeled “anonymous questions” box that can be placed near the exit of the classroom.
- Have a flipchart or whiteboard and markers for writing down classroom ground rules.
- Hand out blank pieces of paper or index cards.
- Prepare puzzle pieces of anatomy in folders or envelopes. Educators can print the anatomy slides and cut them up into puzzle pieces.
- This lesson uses terminology such as someone born with a vagina/penis, or someone with a vulva/penis, or someone assigned male/female at birth interchangeably. Students and educators alike may be learning new terminology in this lesson.
Introduction and Opening Activity (creating classroom expectations together: 10 minutes, slides: 1-6
We’re going to be here over the next couple of days to talk to you about different aspects of health and sexuality. We’re going to cover the basics of anatomy, gender and orientation; how to decide if you want to have sex; ways to keep yourself and those you engage with safe, if and when you do decide to have sex, and a lot more.
This information is valuable for all of us, whether we decide to have sex or not. It helps us make informed decisions about our bodies, relationships, and health. Some of these topics can be uncomfortable for many of us to talk about, and we want you to take care of yourself throughout the duration of our time together with these lessons. Your teacher is available to talk with you privately if you're interested in coming up with a plan to take care of yourself outside and during these conversations.
**Please note that your teacher is a mandatory reporter (If the presenter is, state you are now as well) This means that they are required to report to either child protective services or law enforcement if they learn of abuse that someone has experienced.
This is a great way to get support when you or someone you know is experiencing harm. Additionally, we have included a list of other resources, some of which are anonymous, which you can access for support for yourself or others.
Two Resources we want to share with you now are the
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: “LOVEIS” to 22522, or visit https://www.loveisrespect.org/ National Hotline: 1-866-331-9474
and Oregon Youthline: A free 24-hour crisis, support, and helpline for youth.. The phone lines are open 24 hours a day. The helpline is answered by youth daily from 4-10pm. CALL 877-968-8491 or TEXT teen2teen to 839863
If in person: Before class started we handed out a resources list. On that list are groups that help teens who have experienced or know someone who’s experienced unwanted sexual contact. They are free, and you can be anonymous when you reach out to them.
If online: In the google classroom that you all have access to there is a document called Resources. On there is a list of groups that help teens who have experienced or know someone who’s experienced unwanted sexual contact.
One last thing: I’ve found that a lot of times people have questions about sex that they don’t want to ask in front of their classmates.
In person: so, you all have a note card in front of you that you can use to write any anonymous questions you have. Then, as you leave the classroom, you can put them in this box (hold up box). We want everyone to submit something, think of this as your ‘exit ticket’ - if you don’t have a question, feel free to write something you found interesting, or any feedback you have on the lesson. We’ll go through them and answer them anonymously at the end of class or during the next class if we run out of time.
Online: At any point during our time together, feel free to submit any questions you don’t want to ask in front
Review Your Respect Chart and Ground Rules before proceeding with the lesson.
During the Lesson
Step 1: Anatomy Part 1, slides 6-12
Step 1: Anatomy Part 1
Slide 6 Intro: What is sexual and reproductive anatomy?
By now, you’ve learned a lot about your bodies. Since you’re getting older, we’re going to focus a little bit more on the sexual and reproductive body parts. Reproductive and sexual anatomy includes your genitals and your internal sex and reproductive organs. Everyone’s reproductive and sexual anatomy looks a little different.
We’re going to go through a slide with pictures, so it might feel a little weird at first. But don’t worry, usually, the more you know about something, the less scary it is and by the end of sex ed, we really hope it won’t feel as weird or embarrassing or scary.
Slide 7: What parts of our bodies are considered sexual?
Reproductive and sexual anatomy includes the sex organs on the outside of your body and the sex and reproductive organs on the inside of your body. Some examples of sex organs are the vulva (which includes your vagina) and penis. Reproductive organs include things like the uterus and testicles.
That being said, any part of your body can be sexual. You might have heard that your brain is your most important sex organ. That's because it controls your sexual response — how your body reacts to arousal, sex, or masturbation. It’s also where your sexual fantasies and identities are.
Slide 8: Why is consent important to our conversation about anatomy?
Offer content warning: When we define consent in a moment, we mention sexual violence, in order to understand what is NOT consent.
It’s always important to get consent before touching someone. Consent must be granted before touching another person in a sexual way.
Consent means both partners agree to the sexual activity and understand what they’re agreeing to. Consent is the foundation of any sexual activity. Consent must be given for every sexual activity, every time. Sexual consent is about a person’s right to make their own choice about sexual activity.
Without consent, sexual activity (including oral sex, genital touching, and vaginal or anal penetration) is sexual assault or rape.
Slide 9: Anatomy of Someone with a Vulva
Anatomy for an individual assigned female at birth includes the vulva and internal reproductive organs like the uterus and ovaries. No two vulvas look exactly the same, but they’re usually made up of the same basic parts.
Slide 9: We’re going to start by watching a video about the anatomy of someone who’s assigned sex at birth is female to get familiar with the terms. While the movie plays, we’re going to pass out some folders. Please don’t open them until we say.
Before we begin, It’s important to remember that everyone is different. We have some drawings that will show you the basics, but if you see them and think “wait, my parts look different than that!?” That's totally ok. Just like our faces have most of the same parts (a nose, a mouth, eyebrows, etc) but look different, reproductive parts are the same way. There’s no one, “perfect” way to look.
Slide 10: As a class, watch Anatomy: Assigned Sex at Birth (Female): Anatomy: Assigned Sex At Birth (Female)
That video went through anatomy pretty quickly, so we’re going to make sure we know what we’re talking about. In each folder, you’re going to find various pieces of the anatomy of someone with a vulva (internal and external).
You’re going to get into groups of (___) and together when we say go, you’re going to see if you can put the anatomy in the right places. Give students 5 minutes to put together the puzzles, going around answering questions. When the groups are done, hold up a completed puzzle and go over it as a group, asking them to name each part and to give a brief explanation of what it does.
Give students 5 minutes to put together the puzzles, going around answering questions. When the groups are done, hold up a completed puzzle and go over it as a group, asking them to name each part and to give a brief explanation of what it does.
Slide 11: External:
Mons Pubis (Pubic Mound): The mons pubis is a pad of fatty tissue that covers the pubic bone. It is located at the ‘top’ of the vulva and is also where hair can grow during and after puberty.
Outer Lips (Labia Majora): Large, fleshy folds of tissue that cover and protect the vagina and other internal reproductive organs. The labia majora contains sweat and sebaceous glands, which produce lubricating secretions. During puberty, hair appears on the labia majora.
Inner Lips (Labia Minora): The labia minora lie just inside the labia majora and surround the openings to the vagina and urethra. They provide further protection for the vagina and other internal reproductive organs.
Clitoris: Spongy tissue at the very top of the labia minora that has a lot of nerve endings and is very sensitive.
Urethral Opening: The small hole where urine exits the body, located just below your clitoris.
Vaginal Opening: The opening into the vagina. It's located between the urethra and the anus. The opening is where menstrual blood leaves the body. It's also used to birth a baby.
Bartholin's glands: Located on each side of the vaginal opening. These glands secrete fluid that helps lubricate the vagina.
Anus: Where feces and other discharge leaves the body.
Slide 12: Internal:
Ovaries: Organs where ova or eggs are stored.
Fallopian tubes: Tubes through which the ova travel and where they can be fertilized by a sperm.
Uterus: Organ where a fertilized ovum develops into a fetus.
Cervis: Connects the cervix to the vagina. It has a tiny opening that’s usually closed, but that will open up when a person is having a baby.
Vagina: The tube that connects the uterus to the outside of the body.
- It’s the route where menstrual blood (ie, a period) is going to leave the body.
- It’s the route where a baby is going to leave the body (unless the baby needs to be surgically removed via a C-section)
- It’s where a penis is going to enter if someone is having vaginal sex with someone with a penis.
There are two openings in the vulva — the vaginal opening, and the opening to the urethra (the hole where urine exits the body).
The vaginal opening is right below your urethral opening. It's where menstrual blood leaves your body, and babies are born. A variety of things can go inside your vagina, like tampons, and menstrual cups.
(Third opening) is the anus
Step 2: Periods, slides 13-19
Slide 13: Great job, everyone! Now that we know some basic body parts, we’re going to go over menstruation, aka getting your period.
Slide 13: Some of you might be wondering why you have to learn about periods, especially if you don’t have a uterus. The answer is pretty simple: about 50% of the population gets a period at some point in their lives, and odds are you’re going to know someone (or multiple someones) who gets them. There’s nothing wrong or dirty about menstruation (getting your period), and knowing what is happening can help people who menstruate and people who support people who menstruate, and make it seem less scary or mysterious. So we’re going to watch this video for an overview of periods:
Slide 14: Watch Menstruation: What To Expect
Slide 15: Now that you know a little bit more about why periods happen, let’s talk about a few of the products people with periods can use when menstruation occurs. The two most commonly used menstrual products are maxi pads & tampons. However, these aren’t the only options out there! Reusable menstrual cups, as well as absorbent menstrual underwear, are other options.
If possible, have examples of all of these menstrual products to pass around the class.
Slide 16: Menstrual Dignity Act: Before we go any further, 2021 has been a big year for Oregon students! The Legislature’s passage of House Bill 3294, the Menstrual Dignity Act, this year means that all public schools must provide period products free to elementary, middle and high school students starting the 2021-2022 school year.
Slide 17: Pads come in a variety of sizes, and each person can decide what they want to use based on what feels the best, and their specific needs. Pads are most often disposable, though re-usable, washable pads exist too. In general, Pads function by absorbing and soaking up the fluids that come out of the vagina during menstruation. It is recommended to change pads every four to eight hours for best hygiene and to help prevent odors. ... Changing pads often also helps prevent accidental leaks.
Some pads have ‘wings’ to help them stay on your underwear, and some don’t. They all work pretty much the same way, though: wash your hands, sit down, and have your underwear around your calves. Take the pad out of the wrapper, take the liner off the pad and place it into the middle of your underwear. Then pull them up, make sure the pad is sitting comfortably, and go about your day! If you’re getting rid of an old pad, wrap it up in toilet paper and throw it in the trash (don’t flush it!!).
Periods tend to start light (with just a little bit of fluid), get heavier, and then end lighter, but every person is different and can choose the product that’s best for them.
Slide 17: Tampons are small plugs made of cotton that fit inside a vagina and absorb menstrual blood. Some tampons come with an applicator that helps insert the tampon. Tampons have a string attached to the end, so they can easily be pulled out to remove it.
It can also be helpful to show how to put a tampon in. If you have a vagina model, great. If not, a mason jar with water to show students how it expands can be really cool.
Sometimes people have a lot of stress around putting in a tampon. That’s ok, and totally normal. We’re going to walk you through how to use one so if/when you’re ready, you’ll know the basics.
- Wash your hands.
- Make sure you know where to put it (using a diagram, remind students that there are three holes and that the tampon goes into the vagina. That’s good news because it means you can still pee while you have a tampon in).
- Sit on the toilet with your knees apart. Hold the tampon in one hand with the grip – middle of the tampon – in between your thumb and middle finger. Keep your index finger on the end of the thinner tube, where the cord extends.
- Using the tip of the tampon, open the folds of skin on your vagina and slide the entire barrel inside the vaginal opening, angling towards your back. *As a vagina is often angled towards the back of the body, it will likely go in smoother and without any pain if inserted at an angle, as opposed to straight up and in. Insert it as far as your middle finger and thumb, at the grip – or middle – of the applicator.
- Once the barrel is comfortably inside, hold the grip and push with your index finger on the smaller tube to push the absorbent part of the tampon into the vagina. Push this until it meets the grip and your other fingers.
- If the tampon doesn’t have an applicator, that’s ok! Just push it in the same way as described above, just using your index finger.
- Using your thumb and middle finger, pull out the barrel of the tampon, leaving the string to hang out. Do not pull the string! The tampon is inside and is attached to the string. You will use this to remove the tampon once you are done with it
- Place the applicator back inside the plastic lining (or wrap it in toilet paper) and throw it away in the garbage (don’t flush!).
- Make sure to change your tampon every 4-6 hours.
- Tampons should be comfortable- so if something hurts or pinches, or you can feel it when you’re sitting down, it probably isn’t in correctly (e.g. not inserted far enough). That’s ok- just excuse yourself to the restroom, wash your hands and try again with a new tampon.
Slide 18: Menstrual Cups
Like a tampon, a menstrual cup is inserted into the vagina. Instead of absorbing blood, the cup catches it before it flows out of the vagina. Menstrual cups are made of flexible materials, like rubber or silicone.
You can't see when the cup is full, so empty it (or, in the case of disposable cups, throw it away), wash, and re-insert it several times a day. Instructions that come with the cup explain how to do this.
Slide 19: Menstrual Underwear
Menstrual underwear is designed to look and feel like regular underwear, but with extra layers and highly absorbent fabrics to absorb menstrual blood. They are usually offered in various levels of absorbency, each designed to be worn at different times within a given menstrual cycle.
Does anyone have any questions about anything we’ve covered so far? Answer Questions Now, we’re going to switch over and review the anatomy of someone with a penis.
Step 3 Anatomy, Part 2, slides 20-23
Slide 20: Anatomy of Someone With a Penis
Anatomy for an individual assigned male at birth includes the penis and scrotum (external genitalia) and internal reproductive organs like the testicles. Every penis looks a little different. For example, some curve, others are straighter. Some are circumcised, others have foreskin. They can vary in size, shape, colors, but nearly all penises have the same parts. We’re going to start by watching a video about the anatomy of someone who’s assigned sex at birth is male to get familiar with the terms. While the movie plays, we’re going to pass out some folders. Please don’t open them until we say.
Slide 21: As a class, watch Anatomy: Assigned Sex at Birth (Male): Anatomy: Assigned Sex At Birth (Male)
Slide 22: That video went through our anatomy pretty quickly, so we’re going to make sure we know what we’re talking about. In the folder, you’re going to find pieces of the anatomy of the penis and other organs. You’re going to get into groups of (___) and together, when we say go, you’re going to see if you can put the anatomy in the right places. Give students 5 minutes to put together the puzzles, going around answering questions. When the groups are done, hold up a completed puzzle and go over it as a group, asking them to name each part and to give a brief explanation of what it does.
Testicles: The testicles (balls) are 2 ball-like glands inside the scrotum. They produce sperm and hormones like testosterone.
Epididymis: Where sperm cells are stored while they mature and grow.
Scrotum: The scrotum (AKA ballsack) is the sac of skin that hangs below a penis. A scrotum holds the testicles and keeps them at the right temperature. If it’s too cold, a scrotum pulls testicles closer to one’s body. If it's too warm, testicles hang further away from the body.
The scrotum is covered with wrinkly skin and grows hair during and after puberty. A scrotum can be big or small, have a little or a lot of hair, and vary in color. Some people’s scrotum is larger on one side than the other.
The scrotum is very sensitive, so any harsh impact or twisting can be extremely painful.
Vas Deferens-:Thin tube that carries the sperm from the epididymis to the urethra.
Bladder: Holds urine.
Urethra: The urethra is the tube that carries urine, pre-ejaculate, and semen to your urethral opening and out of your body. Urination and ejaculation can not occur at the same time, so both can’t happen at once!
Penis: The penis is made up of spongy tissue on the inside, that fills up with blood when someone gets hard or has an erection. It’s made up of two parts: the shaft (the main part) and the glans (the tip, sometimes called the head).
About half of all penises in the US are circumcised, and half are uncircumcised (still have foreskin) — so both types are common. Some people call circumcised penises “cut,” and uncircumcised penises “uncut.”
Urethra Opening: Small slit where urine and semen exit the body from the penis
Anus: Where feces and other discharge leaves the body.
Everyone's reproductive and sexual anatomy is a little bit different. Most people have either a penis and scrotum or a vulva, but each person’s genitals are uniquely their own.
Slide 23: Intersex is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.
There are many different ways someone can be intersex, and therefore there is no singular definition of intersex anatomy.
Some intersex people have genitals or internal sex organs that fall outside the male/female categories — such as a person with both ovarian and testicular tissues. Other intersex people have combinations of chromosomes that are different than XY (usually associated with male) and XX (usually associated with female), like XXY. And some people are born with external genitals that fall into the typical male/female categories, but their internal organs or hormones don’t.
Slide 24: Closing the lesson
We learned a lot today, some of which might have been new to you! We welcome your questions: Remind Students about the Anonymous Questions box, having each student submit before they leave.
Make sure all absent students are aware of the rules the class created, as well as the resource list and where they can go should they need additional emotional support.