Education Standards

Human Reproduction - Putting it all Together, Lesson 3 -- 9-12

Human Reproduction - Putting it all Together, Lesson 3 -- 9-12


In this lesson, students will research how famous families came to be. They’ll work with their peers to uncover details about fertilization, gestation, and birth, as well as other aspects of the famous family’s story. Students will then demonstrate (orally or written) their understanding of the concepts from the past two lessons. They will also reflect on the role celebrities play in shaping our thoughts, feelings and behaviors around reproduction and families.

Putting it all Together - Celebrities Celebrating Human Reproduction and Family Formation, Lesson 3

Lesson Description


9th and up

Suggested Time

60 minute with 15 minute optional supplement


Rachel Ginocchio, MPH, Roads to Family

In collaboration with:

Gaye Chapman, Portland Public Schools

Nora Gelperin, MEd, Advocates for Youth

Danni/y Rosen, Co-Chair, GLSEN Oregon

In consultation with:

Yesenia K. Char

Yena Perice

Madelyn Mae Rocamora Belden

Jacqueline Singer

Black Student Union (BSU), Cleveland High School

Cleveland Alliance for Racial Equity Leadership (C.A.R.E.)

Cleveland High School and Leodis V McDaniel High School health students

Cleveland LatinX Student Union

Paula Amato, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oregon Health & Sciences University

Andy Dettinger, ODHS Youth Services, My Future-My Choice

Jacqueline DiBernardo, Writer, RKW Creative

Mariotta Gary-Smith, MPH, Certified Sexuality Educator

Amy Penkin, MSW, LCSW, Clinical Program Manager, Transgender Health Program, Oregon Health & Sciences University

Ann Scott, MD, FACOG, Doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Jess Venable-Novak, Family Equality

Oregon Sex Education Steering Committee

Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force's (SATF’s) Abuse Prevention Learning Collaborative

Oregon Youth Sexual Health Partnership (OYSHP)

Anatomy Illustrations by:

Mel Latthitham, Graphic Designer, Sweet Bonny


Lesson Objectives

  • Research one famous family to understand that family's structure and explain how a child in that family came to be - in terms of fertilization (PIV sex, insemination, or IVF), gestation and birth.
  • Use inclusive, respectful language to present your findings to the class.
  • Reflect on how celebrity stories impact individual and societal values.

Essential Questions Covered

  • How does family structure impact reproductive health options and vice-versa?
  • How do celebrity family stories impact our own opinions and values regarding reproduction and family? Do you think their stories influence societal norms?
  • How can talking openly about personal experiences help decrease stigma and shame? How can talking openly do harm? How do people decide whether or not to share personal information?

Culturally Responsive Practices

The three lessons in this series are about equity, diversity, and inclusion, around human reproduction and family formation. So often, students and their families who are here thanks to assisted reproduction, or who join their family through adoption and foster care are left out of the typical narrative. By teaching the concepts in these lessons, educators will include every student in their class and all of their family structures in the explanation of human reproduction, equally. Throughout the lessons, students are invited to share, explore, and celebrate their large funds of intersectional knowledge (all shaped by their identities, genetics, and experiences) around how they came into the world and what family/kinship/community means to them.

We do want to acknowledge that although the creation of these lessons was driven by the experiences and ideas of students and professionals of various intersecting identities, they are largely written from a western perspective/cultural standpoint.

Information for Educators

The following information will be repeated in each of the three lessons:

The three lessons in this series expand the typical explanation of anatomy and reproduction to be inclusive of every student and every family structure. We discuss penis-in-vagina sexual intercourse, insemination, and IVF. In this way, all students can see themselves in the lessons on human reproduction and family formation. This includes students who are donor conceived (egg, sperm, and embryo donation), those gestated and birthed via surrogacy, and those who come to their families through adoption, foster care, remarriage, and many other avenues.

This first lesson focuses on fertilization through penis-in-vagina sexual intercourse (PIV sex). The second lesson introduces insemination, in vitro fertilization, donors, and surrogates. The third lesson pulls together all of the concepts introduced in the first two lessons.  

In the second lesson, students will apply their knowledge of how PIV sex works to create a pregnancy to explain insemination and IVF. They’ll then take their understanding further, by learning how people other than parents, such as donors and surrogates, play a role in human reproduction and family formation. The activities will be done in small groups, where students can help each other understand the concepts and where they can practice using an inclusive approach to human reproduction, which the educator modeled in the first lesson.

In the third lesson, students will work in small groups, researching celebrity families. This activity will enable them to pull together all the concepts they learned in the previous two lessons, and to demonstrate their progress in understanding the material.

These lessons are designed with formative assessment questions built in. The educator can speed up or slow down the material, depending on where students are in their understanding and interest in the material and how much class time is allotted to these lessons.

The three lessons in this series are designed to be taught consecutively. However, since teaching time is short, the following are suggestions for modifying the length of these lessons:

  • If students already have a strong foundational understanding of human reproduction through PIV sex, educators can skip Lesson 1.
  • Lesson 3 is a hands-on activity that enables students to apply the knowledge they gained in Lesson 1 and 2, and helps educators assess student understanding. This lesson can be skipped or assigned as homework.
  • If students already have a basic understanding of all means of reproduction (PIV sex,  insemination and IVF), they can dive right into Lessson 3, where they can apply their knowledge and demonstrate their understanding.
  • Depending on students’ level of proficiency, there are sections within the lessons that can be skipped or elaborated on. We have noted these in the lessons.
  • We have kept the slides for these three lessons in one slide deck. We hope this helps teachers pace the material according to students’ proficiency and how much time they have in their class period. When class periods allow for more content, educators can simply skip the wrap-up activities at the end of one lesson and move onto the next.

Suggestions for scope and sequencing: Our lessons fit well after students have a basic understanding of puberty, the difference between sex (female, male, and intersex) and gender, sexual orienation, consent, health equity/disparaties and media literacy, and before contraception and STI prevention. For resources on these topics, please see “Links for Supplemental Materials” at the end of this lesson.

All the materials created for these lessons begin with RTF, which stands for Roads to Family. We hope the RTF designation helps you keep organized with all the available resources.

In addition to the three lessons on human reproduction, Mariotta Gary-Smith has also written two additional lessons which guide the students in their exploration of family, kinship and community. We highly recommend these lessons either before or after this series.

Please keep in mind that although you (as the educator) might be unfamiliar with some of the material in these lessons, many students in class are here thanks to assisted reproduction, including donor conception and surrogacy. Some of these students have been explaining assisted reproduction to their peers since they were in elementary school. They may be willing to share their funds of knowledge and expertise, but it may also be a relief for them not to be the one explaining things. When assisted reproduction is part of mainstream education it destigmatizes and normalizes everyone’s experience!

We have chosen to use the term PIV sex, to represent penis-in-vagina sexual intercourse, since this is the type of sexual intercourse than can lead to a pregnancy. Others use sexual intercourse or vaginal intercourse. There is no one right term to use, so use the vocabulary that is best for your community, and feel free to change the slides and handouts accordingly. Just be sure to clearly define the terms you use.

If any of the words in the lessons cause you to feel uncomfortable, it can be helpful to practice them out loud several times, in the privacy of your own home, before introducing the concepts to the class.

Please know your state and district policies regarding what you can and can not teach in regards to comprehensive sexuality education.

Links and  Materials for the Lesson

Educator Materials

Before the lesson, please read:

For the Lesson:

  • If you prefer students to work in predetermined groups (rather than select their own), be sure to have your student groups identified before the lesson.
  • The slides for this lesson: Lesson 3 Slides
  • The handouts for this lesson:
  • Family Vocabulary - If you already make enough copies for lesson 1, you do not need to reprint this. You’ll need enough copies for the educator and each table group.
  • Reproduction Vocabulary - If you already make enough copies for lesson 1, you do not need to reprint this. You’ll need enough copies for the educator and each table group.
  • Computer, LCD projector, screen.
  • A watch, clock or stopwatch for keeping track of time.
  • Group agreements, Parking Lot, Word Wall, Anonymous question box/digital version from Lesson 1 and 2

Student Materials

  • Paper and pen/pencil or markers.
  • Each student needs their Reproduction Infographic that they worked on in Lesson 2.
  • Students need printed articles or access to the Internet; either laptops, computers, tables, phones, etc. Some of the links provided in the Student Celebrity Links handout are for video recordings, so if allowed, students need earbuds or headphones.

Lesson Overview

Before the Lesson

Gather all educator and student materials. Set-up classroom for small group activities. As students come into class, give them back their Reproduction Infographic, if you had collected it after Lesson 2.  

Classroom Set-Up:

Students will work in small groups. Place tables/desks together in 7 groupings (or however many you have space for). At the center of each table/desk group, place:

  • One famous person/couple worksheet from the Student Celebrity Worksheets - Michelle and Barack Obama, Anderson Cooper, Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, Sarah Fain, Myles and Precious Brady, and Brandi Carlile and Catherine Shepherd.
  • Two to three copies of Student Celebrity Research Links. As an alternative, if educators have a way of sharing links digitally with students, this can save some time during the lesson.
  • If students don’t have access to computers/internet, print out two-four copies of each of the articles listed in Student Celebrity Research Links (each student needs at least one resource to read/watch/listen to during class), and put them at their respective celebrity table. As an alternative, each group can have one copy of two different articles, and students can read the articles outloud to one another in their groups.
  • Each group needs a copy of the following handouts:

Determine final product

Students will be working in groups to research a famous family (each with a different family structure) to uncover who provided egg, who provided sperm, method of fertilization, who gestated the pregnancy and who the people are in the family. Other interesting points show up: sexual orientation, gender identify, discrimination, government policies, etc.

They can present their findings in a variety of ways. Here are some suggestions:


  • Students in a group each share one aspect of findings: who provided egg, who provided sperm, method of fertilization, who gestated the pregnancy and who the people are in the family.
  • One student in the group presents the group’s findings.


  • Students can neatly write their research findings on the sheet with the famous person’s photo. Each group can tape their summary on the wall, and students can do a Gallery Walk. Students can spend 1-2 minutes at each photo, discussing the research, and then moving to the next photo when time is called.

Decide how students will present their research findings, which is a demonstration of their proficiency with the material in the past three lessons. You can also have students vote, and then modify the instructions accordingly.

Using this lesson to teach media literacy

If educators are planning on teaching a class on media literacy, today’s lesson can be incorporated into that class. We suggest that educators first teach students how to search for and verify reputable websites. Then, instead of reading the articles we have selected for this lesson, students can use their digital literacy skills to find articles themselves. They can add information and insights on the sources they chose, at the bottom of the sheet with the family photos (used to designate the table groups).

Slide 1: Title slide

Note to Educator: The title slide can be up when students come into class.

Note to Educator: To follow is a suggested narrative for you to use with your class. Please modify so that you use the language and concepts most appropriate for your community, and that which meets your district and/or state policies, which may dictate what you can and can not discuss. We have indented and italicized notes to you that are not part of the narrative, we have highlighted media links in blue, and questions to ask the student in green.

Climate Setting (2 minutes)

Slide 2: The zones

Growth Zone

We are aiming to be in the growth zone again today. Please remember to take care of yourself if you feel panicky or unsafe.

Group Agreements

These are the group agreements we came up with for Lesson 1 and Lesson 2.

Note to Educator: You can point to where the group agreements are written and read, or have a student read some of the salient ones out loud.

Student Inquiry: Are there any group agreements anyone would like to add or revise since our last lesson?

Parking Lot

I’ll continue writing down questions that we are not able to answer in class, that might need some research.

Class Scribe

Note to Educators: Class scribe is not needed for this lesson!

Introduction (6 minutes)

Note to Educator: Spend two minutes answering student’s questions from the question box and/or have students that volunteered to answer questions from the Parking Lot share their findings. Let students know that other questions will be answered during today’s lesson. You can also clarify any confusion you detected from reviewing student’s Reproduction Infographics.

So, hopefully, you understand how insemination and IVF work to create a pregnancy, as well as you understand how PIV sex works! We talked about the different ways that fertilization can happen, and we talked about different people who play a role in providing egg and sperm, and who gestate a baby in their uterus. In the previous lesson, you also worked in small groups so you could practice using some new concepts in a responsible way.

So now you have the knowledge to be inclusive and respectful of all the different families in our classroom.

So, let’s spend this class putting your new understanding and skills to use.

Slide 3: Today’s agenda

Today, we will be getting into groups and researching celebrity families. Your group will then present your findings to your classmates, during which you can demonstrate your understanding of the concepts using an inclusive vocabulary.

Note to Educator: Here is where you can describe how the students will present their findings (verbally - 1 minute group presentation or written - Gallery Walk)

Before we get started, I just want to mention that this exercise uses famous people as a point of discussion, because it can be fun to do so, and they are well-known examples. Unlike many of us, celebrities often have access to resources and wealth that many of us do not have. However, their stories are no different than our own stories, the stories of our friends, classmates, relatives, and other families in our lives. So, I expect you to continue using thoughtful, inclusive, respectful language when you discuss anyone’s families, including celebrity families.

Slide 4: Today’s activity

This slide has 7 celebrity families on it, representing different family arrangements.

Each student is going to pick a family that they are interested in learning more about. Then, in small groups, you are going to do some research to figure out how the children came to be part of that family and who the people are in that family.

So stare at the slide for a minute, pick your family, and then move to the designated table group. Each table group has a piece of paper in the middle, with the name of the parent or parents on it. If there are already too many people at a table, please choose another family.

Go ahead and do that, and get settled quickly please.

Note to Educator: If this is too disruptive, pre-assign a group of students to work together or pre-assign a celebrity family to a group of already arranged desks/tables. Students can work on whichever celebrity was assigned to their group or set of desks/tables.

Celebrity Research and Findings (40 minutes)

Note to Educator: There is 40 minutes allotted to this portion of the lesson. Students can move through the steps at their own pace, but should spend most of their time researching, discussing and sharing and not on review or group logistics.

Step 1. (3 minutes)

Spend 3 minutes reviewing the Reproduction Infographic with one another. Make sure everyone’s sheets are complete. Please help each other fill in missing pieces.

Note to Educator: Slides 5, 6, 7 have all the information filled out. If students are having trouble, show them the slides and answer questions. While students work, you can leave Slide 5 (Key Concepts) on the screen.

Step 2. (3 minutes)

Before you begin researching, look at the Student Celebrity Research Links. I don’t want you spending today’s class finding articles, so I have given you some to choose from. Also, look at the sheets on your table that have a photo of a celebrity on it. It shows you the information you’ll be searching for in your research and what information you’ll be sharing with the class. This includes:

  • Who provided the egg?
  • Who provided the sperm?
  • How did fertilization happen?
  • Where did gestation occur (uterus)?
  • Are there other interesting things about this families’ story that you’d like to share?
  • Are there other issues that came up? (e.g., equity, disparity, sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, etc.)

Step 3. (2 minutes)

Note to Educator: Explain to students how the information will be presented. Depending on how they will be presenting their findings, will determine which roles students need to take on.

Spend 1 minute deciding who will take on what role in your groups: e.g., time-keeper, recorder, and presenter/s If the group feels like there are other important roles, discuss who will take on those roles.

Step 4. (15 minutes)

On your table, there are a couple of other resources that can help you. One is a list of different kinds of families, and another gives the definitions for all the medical terms we have talked about with human reproduction. Feel free to use these to help you with your research.  

Spend 10 to 12 minutes researching the family’s story. There are articles to skim or recordings. If you want to listen to a recording, you need to listen to them through earphones/earbuds. You won’t have time to listen to the whole thing, so skim for the information we are looking for in this lesson.

Note to Educator: If your school does not allow earbuds, students will need to read the materials, or have students read out-loud to one another.

As students work in groups, the educator can roam the room and listen. Educators can help facilitate conversation when necessary, assess if students understand the concepts and if they are communicating respectfully and compassionately. If not, the educator should encourage, coach, interject, disrupt or redirect when necessary.

Step 5. (5 minutes)

When everyone is done researching, spend 5 minutes sharing your discoveries with your group, and jot down what you learned on the sheet with the celebrity photo on it.

Note to Educator: If students are doing a Gallery Walk, have them hang their photo somewhere in the room.

Step 6. (12 minutes)

Now it is time to share what you learned with the rest of the class!

Note to Educator: If students are sharing verbally, after the first group goes, they can call out the name of a celebrity. Whichever group had that celebrity can go next. If students are doing a Gallery Walk, the teacher can call “Time!” in 1-2 minute intervals.

Let students know if you would like them to turn in their findings. Educators can use this as an additional assessment tool to determine if concepts need to be further explained at the start of the next class.

Conclusion (5 minutes)

Student Inquiry: Why do you think celebrities share their personal stories?

Student Inquiry:  Do you think it is beneficial or detrimental to hear their stories?

Note to Educator: Celebrities share their stories to help others, to normalize, and to destigmatize. They also know their info gets out anyway, so it makes sense to be proactive and shape the narrative. They may also share to gain followers, to sell products, etc.

Student Inquiry: Do you think celebrity stories impact your own opinions and values about reproduction and family? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?

Note to Educator: Students may bring up the cultural, societal, and religious pressure for people to get married and have children. There is still a lot of stigma around being without a partner and for adults who do not have children. 

Time Check!

Note to Educator: If you have additional class time, students can spend more time sharing their findings.

Or, you can skip to the Supplemental Lesson below (additional 15 minutes).

Final Thinking, Reflection, and Assessment (5 minutes)

I’d love to hear your thoughts about today’s lesson.

Note to Educator: Students can work in small groups/table-groups, to answer these questions. You can walk around the room to assess students' understanding, listen for respectful dialogue, and coach when needed. Or, if you prefer, students can share with the whole class, and you can assess understanding that way. Either way, read each question and give students 1-2 minutes to discuss before reading the next question.

Student Inquiry:

  • What are some important or interesting things you learned today?
  • Did the three lessons in this series help you better understand yourself, your classmates or your peers in any way; if so, how?
  • How do you think you can use what you’ve learned from these past three lessons?

Wrap-Up (2 minutes)

Word Wall

At this point, the word wall should be complete.

Note to Educator: Are there any words that need defining or clarification?

Who would like to research some of the unanswered questions on our Parking Lot? You can bring your findings to our next class.

Question Box

Note to Educator: Let students know if you will be continuing the question box.

I would like for everyone to submit questions to our anonymous question box. Like we did in the previous lessons, grab a small piece of paper from your table. Anyone with remaining questions can write them down, but even if you don’t have a question,I want you to draw a picture, or tell me how class was for you. That way, students that have questions will not be the only ones writing. Please put your question box paper in the question box on your way out.

Trusted Adult

You can reach out to me anytime, about today’s lesson or anything else on your mind. You can also go to a trusted adult in your life.

Lesson Supplement - Individual and Societal Values

Slide 8: Supplemental material

15 minutes

Student Inquiry: Who would like to read this Instagram post from Regina Townsend? She is an advocate for those in African American communities dealing with infertility. (The post is printed in larger font, at the back of this lesson)

In your small groups, I’d like you to explore some of these questions

Slide 9: Reflection questions

Student Inquiry: What does this post tell us about what society expects from individuals and couples?

Note to Educator: There is a lot of cultural, societal, and religious pressure for people to get married and have children. There is still a lot of stigma around being without a partner and for people who do not have children. 

Student Inquiry: How do society’s expectations change, depending on someone’s gender, sexual orientation, economic status, educational level, neurological, and mental and physical abilities?

Student Inquiry: Do you agree or disagree with her statement that infertility should be taught in sex ed class, and why?

Student Inquiry: How do you feel about celebrities having practically unlimited access to resources?

What groups would like to go first in sharing their thoughts.

Note to Educator: After students have had a chance to express their ideas, go back to Final thoughts, and Wrap-Up.

After the Lesson

Educator Prep for Next Lesson

Make corrections and add notes to this lesson to help you the next time you teach it!

Research answers to questions on the Parking Lot that have not been assigned to students.

Absent students can choose a family, research and answer questions on the sheet with a famous family photo that students used in class (located at end of lesson).

Remind all students of office hours or how to get additional help with material.

Ongoing Quality Improvement

If you have comments, feedback and suggestions that would help improve these lessons in the future, please let us know! Email at

Supplemental Materials and References

Links for Supplemental Materials

Educator Materials - Please see list of resources for Lesson 2 in this series

Student Materials - Please see list of resources for Lesson 2 in this series

References for the Lesson

UpToDate was used for the majority of the technical medical information in these lessons:

Barbieri, R. (2021). Intracytoplasmic sperm injection. In K. Eckler (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved August 29, 2021

Biro, F., & Yee-Ming, C. (2020). Normal Puberty. In A.G. Hoppin (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved August 29, 2021

Ginsburg, E. (2021). Procedure for intrauterine insemination (IUI) using processed sperm. In K. Eckler (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved August 29, 2021

Ginsburg, E., & Srouji, S. (2020). Donor Insemination. In K. Eckler (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved August 29, 2021

Matsumoto, A. & Anawalt, B. (2020). Male reproductive physiology. In K. Martin (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved August 29, 2021

Paulson, R. (2020). In Vitro Fertilization. In K. Eckler (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved August 29, 2001

Prager, S., Micks, E, & Dalton, V. (2021). Pregnancy loss (miscarriage): Terminology, risk factors, and etiology. In K. Eckler (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved August 29, 2021

Schattman, G, & K. Xu. (2021). Preimplantation genetic testing. In V. Barss (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved August 29, 2021

Welt, C. (2021). Physiology of the normal menstrual cycle. In K. Martin(Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved August 29, 2021

As well as information from:

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), Reproductive Facts:

British Fertility Society (BFS),

Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA), Australia