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Middle School
  • Anatomy
  • Conception
  • Donor Conception
  • Gender
  • Growth and Development
  • IVF
  • Inclusivity
  • Insemination
  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevention
  • Puberty
  • Reproduction
  • Sexual Health
  • Sexual Health Education
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Sexuality Education
  • Surrogacy
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    Reproduction Basics, Grade 7 Lesson 3

    Reproduction Basics, Grade 7 Lesson 3


    This lesson explains reproduction to students using a PowerPoint presentation and includes a teacher’s resource with sample definitions and language that can be used. Students then receive cards and try to arrange themselves in the correct order of a 28-day menstrual cycle showing where sperm would need to be present in order for a pregnancy to occur as well as how methods of contraception can prevent pregnancy. The homework is watching a short video about pregnancy myths and answering questions on a worksheet.

    Reproduction Basics- Grade 7

    Reproduction Basics

    A Roads to Family Modification of a Lesson Plan from Rights, Respect, Responsibility

    Roads to Family has modified 3R lessons on human reproduction and family formation to include donors, surrogates, insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF).



    By the end of 8th grade, students will be able to:

    AP.8.CC.1 - Describe human reproductive systems, including the external and internal body parts and their functions, and that there are naturally occuring variations in human bodies (e.g. intersex, vulvas, circumcised, and intact penises)

    PR.8.CC.1 – Define sexual intercourse and its relationship to human reproduction.


    HE.1.6.16, HE.1.7.17, HE.1.8.17 - Access the human sexual and reproductive systems including body parts and their functions.

    HE.1.6.25, HE.1.7.26, HE.1.8.26 - Define sexual intercourse and its relationship to human reproduction.

    Note to educator: OR standards do not include the range of ways pregnancy can occur, which are now part of the national standards (SH.5.CC.2), and thus included in this lesson.

    TARGET GRADE: Grade 7 Lesson 3


    Prepare newsprint with the following headers, one per sheet:

    1. Penis-in-vagina sexual intercourse (PIV sex) is when. . .

    2. Insemination is when . . .

    3. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is when . . .

    4. A pregnancy can start when . . .

    5. A pregnancy can’t start when . . .

    Post the five pieces of newsprint in different places around the wall with enough room by each so that a small group of students can gather and write on them. Tape the bottom edge of each newsprint sheet up over its top, folding it in half, so that students cannot see what’s written on them until you are ready to do the activity.


    The slides for this lesson are here:



    The worksheets are here:


    Use these to:

    • Make five copies of the “Sperm” page.
    • Print one copy of the “Birth Control” page.
    • Print one set of the 28 day cards, of which there are 14 pages, so you need to cut them in half to have a full set of 28.
    • Print one copy of the homework sheet “Reproduction Myth vs Fact” for each student.

    You should be familiar with the functioning of the reproductive systems and human reproduction in order to lead the class activities and respond to students’ questions. A review can be found at

    For a summary of other means of human reproduction, including donors, surrogates, insemination and IVF, please read the RTF Assisted Reproduction Educator’s Guide and watch the following video from the British Fertility Society: Fertility Technologies Shaping Modern Families,

    It is also important for you to be aware of your district and state policies in place that may dictate what you can and cannot share about human reproduction.

    TIME: 60 Minutes


    • LCD projector and screen

    • Desktop or Laptop computer with PowerPoint on it

     PowerPoint: “Fertility and the Menstrual Cycle”

    • One set of the 28 day cards

    • Two medium-sized bouncy balls (red, rubber balls typically used in PE class are perfect if you can borrow them or most dollar stores sell them)

    • 5 copies of the sperm page

    • One copy of the birth control page

    Human Reproduction Answer Key – one copy for teacher

    • Human Reproduction Sample Definitions – one copy for teacher

    • Three pieces of newsprint prepared as described

    • Homework: “Reproduction Myth vs. Fact” – one per student

    • Masking tape

    • Flipchart markers – one per student

    • Pencils in case students do not have their own



    By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

    1. Describe the process of human reproduction by identifying the correct order of the steps involved [Knowledge]

    2. Define penis-in-vagina sexual intercourse, insemination and in vitro fertilization [Knowledge]

    3. Assess the similarities and differences between the three ways to create a pregnancy [Knowledge]


    Language continues to evolve! We recommend being as inclusive as possible.

    This lesson does not use the terms female and male anatomy, but instead refers to transportation or delivery systems and networks. In doing so, we focus more on the process of how pregnancy happens and less on the people creating the pregnancy. This works well if students have already had an introduction to sex (female, male and intersex) and gender identity. If needed, please see additional lessons from 3Rs on these topics.

    There are many definitions of the word sex, so we use the term penis-in-vagina sexual intercourse, or PIV sex for short, to be very clear about what sexual activities can lead to a pregnancy. Use the terminology that works for your classroom, but be sure to define the terms clearly for the students and then modify the teaching materials accordingly. 

    Because there is much controversy over the word conception (federal and state laws differ, as do individual opinions), it’s best to describe the process of fertilization and pregnancy and reserve the word conception


    Note to the Teacher: We have written an example narrative in quotes. 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.

    STEP 1: Say, “Today we are going to discuss human reproduction. This is a topic that some of you might know a lot about and some of you might be learning about for the first time. Let’s start by seeing what the class already knows about the topic of reproduction.”

    Point out the five pieces of newsprint you have hung around the room. Walk to the closest piece of newsprint and remove the tape revealing what is written on it. Explain to students that each piece of newsprint has a different sentence starter. They are to walk around and write down the first thing that comes to mind for each page. Explain that you are just looking to see what students have heard about these topics and that you expect all of their responses to be appropriate for school. Distribute the flipchart markers and tell them to be sure to write small enough to allow room for others to contribute as well. Invite students to stand up and move around to each newsprint, writing their responses. Give students about five minutes to get to each newsprint. Once they are done, tell them to return to their seats. Ask five students to help by each bringing one piece of newsprint to post at the front of the room so the whole class can see it.

    (8 minutes)

    STEP 2:

    Define Penis-in-Vagina Sexual Intercourse (PIV sex)

    Starting with the first newsprint, read the answers students have given, clarifying any misconceptions and confirming accurate information. If students have not written it, make sure to say, “Penis-in-vagina sex, is sometimes called sexual intercourse, vaginal intercourse, or sex. To keep things clear and short, I am going to refer to penis-in-vagina sexual intercourse as PIV sex. PIV sex is when an erect penis is inserted into a vagina. If this results in ejaculation, semen is released from the penis into the vagina. Semen contains millions of sperm, so if an egg is present in the fallopian tube, the egg and sperm can unite. That’s called ‘fertilization.’ About a week later, when a fertilized egg has developed into a ball of cells called an embryo, it can implant into the wall of the uterus, to create a pregnancy. If it doesn’t implant, the person will get their menstrual period. Which is what happens month after month, when there isn’t sperm in the fallopian tube and when there is no implantation. We’ll talk more about this in a minute.”

    (10 minutes)

    Define insemination

    Move to the next newsprint, read the answers students have given, clarifying any misconceptions and confirming accurate information. Many students (their friends and/or family members) are here due to insemination and so are likely knowledgeable about this means of conception.

    Say, “Insemination is when sperm is ejaculated from the penis into a container. Sperm can then be removed from the container and placed into the vagina or the uterus. This can be done at home or with a medical provider.”

    Note to the Teacher: When insemination is done at home, sperm is typically deposited into the vagina with a needless syringe. When people have help from a medical provider, the sperm is typically deposited into the uterus, with a catheter. A catheter is a thin, flexible tube that can be threaded through the vagina, past the cervix and into the uterus, so that sperm can be released into the uterus. This is called intra uterine insemination, or IUI for short. Some students may refer to insemination as IUI, and this is why. Please see the RTF Educator Guide to Assisted Reproduction for more information and details.

    “When sperm are placed into the vagina or uterus, they move through the body towards the fallopian tubes in search of an egg, just as they would have if the sperm had been ejaculated directly into the vagina through PIV sex. If an egg is present in the fallopian tube, a sperm and an egg can unite.”

    Ask the students, “What is it called when an egg and a sperm join together?”

    Continue, “Right! Fertilization. The fertilized egg, which we now call an embryo, continues to travel through the fallopian tube and can implant into the wall of the uterus, creating a pregnancy.”

    Ask, “What happens if there is no pregnancy?”

    Continue, “Right! The person will get their period. Again, we’ll talk about this in a minute.”

    Add, “Any questions about insemination?”

    (10 minutes)

    Note to the Teacher: Insemination can also be called assisted insemination, since it is a way to assist the sperm in reaching the egg. The term artificial insemination is no longer widely used, since it can have a negative connotation. 

    Define In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

    Move to the next newsprint, read the answers students have given, clarifying any misconceptions and confirming accurate information. Many students (their friends and/or family members) are here due to IVF and so are likely knowledgeable about this means of conception.

    Say, “In vitro means ‘outside a living organism’, so in vitro fertilization is a way that egg and sperm can join together outside the human body. In vitro fertilization is called IVF for short. With IVF, eggs are surgically removed from the ovaries and placed into a flat, shallow container called a Petri dish. This container provides a safe, nutritious environment for the eggs. An embryologist who is a medical professional specially trained to work with eggs and sperm when they are outside the body, joins the egg and sperm together. After the fertilized eggs, or embryos, grow in the Petri dish for a few days, an embryo can be placed into the uterus where it can implant and continue to develop - just like it would have if fertilization had happened inside the body.

    Note to the Teacher: If you think the word Petri dish is too complicated for your students, you can just say the word container. We introduce this term to help dispel the myth of fertilization happening in a test tube.

    (10 minutes)

    Say something like, “It is really important to understand that it is not always parents that provide the egg, sperm and uterus to create a pregnancy with insemination and IVF! Donors are people who give their sperm cells, egg cells or embryos to someone else, so they can create a pregnancy. A surrogate is someone who is pregnant and gives birth to a baby for someone else. Donors and surrogates help other people grow their family.

    Can anyone think of a reason why someone might need donors or surrogates or why someone might choose insemination or IVF to grow their families, instead of PIV sex?

    Probe for:

    • Infertility: As people approach the age of 40, it can be more challenging to create and carry a pregnancy that results in the birth of a baby; therefore they may choose one of these methods in order to increase their chances of success.
    • If a single woman or a lesbian couple/relationship (with eggs and a uterus) want to have a baby, they might need sperm from a donor. They can use insemination or IVF.
    • If a single man or a gay couple/relationship (with sperm) want to have a baby, they might need eggs from a donor and a uterus from a surrogate. They, too, can use insemination or IVF.
    • If a transgender woman (with sperm) wants to have a baby, she may need a partner with eggs and a uterus, or an egg donor and a surrogate.
    • If a transgender man (with eggs and a uterus) wants to have a baby, he may need a partner with sperm or a sperm donor.  
    • If people don’t have a partner or do not want to create a pregnancy with PIV sex, they can use donors, surrogates, insemination and IVF.  

    Note to the Teacher: Students are likely to give much shorter answers: infertility, two women, two moms, lesbians, two men, two dads, a gay couple, singe moms, single dads, solo parents, people who are transgender, people who are asexual, etc. Those are all great answers! We provided fuller answers in case educators want to elaborate or students have questions.

    If you need some help providing age-appropriate definitions, please use the Human Reproduction Sample Definitions at the end of this lesson.

    (10 minutes)

    Continue in this manner with the other two pieces of newsprint making sure to provide the appropriate information and/or definitions as needed.  

    A pregnancy can start when . . .

    Note to the Teacher: Please be aware that sometimes a fertilized egg attaches outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. This is called an ectopic pregnancy. It can be dangerous if not treated right away and it is not a pregnancy that can continue to develop.

    A pregnancy can’t start when . . .

    (5 minutes)

    STEP 3:

    Who can tell me the difference between the words intentional and unintentional?

    If needed, clarify, “Intentional means done deliberately or done on purpose. Unintentional means done unknowingly or unplanned.”

    “Insemination and IVF are intentional ways of creating a pregnancy. PIV sex to create a pregnancy is oftentimes done very intentionally as well. But, PIV sex can also unintentionally lead to a pregnancy. Meaning, people can have vaginal intercourse and create a pregnancy, even though it was not their intention to do so.”

    “That is why, for the remainder of this lesson, we are going to focus on the journey of the sperm and the egg with PIV sex. After we understand the journey, we will talk about contraception and how to prevent an unintentional pregnancy.

    Next say, “Now that you have some general definitions for key terms related to human reproduction, I want to make sure you understand the steps involved in PIV sex from start to finish.” Start the PowerPoint “Fertility and the Menstrual Cycle” and review each phase of the menstrual cycle by saying the following:

    Slide 1 – “This is a uterus. You can see that it’s in the abdomen next to the stomach. The uterus is where menstruation occurs.”

    Slide 2 – “The average menstrual cycle is generally about 28 days but really varies from person to person, sometimes being much shorter or longer than 28 days. Someone can get their first period anywhere between nine and fifteen years old and generally it will take the body a couple of years to figure out what will be a typical cycle.”

    Slide 3 – “Each month an ovary releases an egg, also called an ovum, into the fallopian tube. The trip through the fallopian tube usually takes a few days.”

    Slide 4 – “While the ovum is on this journey, if it unites with sperm, the egg becomes fertilized and a few days later, may implant in the lining of the uterus. Once an embryo implants inside the uterus, a pregnancy can begin. If the pregnancy continues, nine months later a baby can be born.”

    Slide 5 – “If there are no sperm in the fallopian tube while the ovum is there, then the ovum dissolves and is reabsorbed by the body. The ovum is only able to unite with a sperm for about a day before it dissolves.”

    Slide 6 – “In order to prepare for a potential pregnancy, the lining of the uterus grows each month to create a good environment for a potential fetus.”

    Slide 7 – “If the egg does not unite with a sperm, hormones tell the body to prepare for menstruation, also called having a period.”

    Slide 8 – “Menstruation is when the body rids itself of the extra lining inside of the uterus because there was no fertilized ovum. About two tablespoons of blood and some tissue slowly leave the vagina during a menstrual period.”

    (10 minutes)

    STEP 4: Say, “Since the average menstrual cycle is 28 days, I have 28 cards and each one represents one day of the cycle. I am going to hand out a card to each of you. Once you have your card, please tape them to the board in the correct order. Then we will look at the menstrual cycle again, this time starting with menstruation as Day 1.” Distribute one card to each student and have them use the masking tape to post them on the chalk or white board.

    Note to the Teacher: If you have more than 28 students in your class, have students pair up to work on one card together. If you have less than 28 students, give a few students two cards to work on. (5 minutes)

    STEP 5: Say, “Now we can see an average 28 day menstrual cycle with Day 1 being the first day of her period. Next I’d like to show you when a person is most likely to become pregnant if sperm and an egg unite. Each of these two bouncy balls will represent one day when the egg is in the fallopian tube and able to unite with a sperm.” Ask for two volunteers and give each one a bouncy ball. Have one student stand under Day 14 and the other student stand under Day 15. Say, “Now whenever the egg is traveling through the fallopian tube pregnancy can happen if there are sperm present. Remember from the PowerPoint that the egg or ovum is only alive for about two days. So these two bouncy balls will represent when the egg is traveling and able to unite with a sperm.” (5 minutes)

    STEP 6: Next, ask for five volunteers and give each one copy of the sperm page and say, “Sperm can live inside another person’s body for up to five days. So let’s see what happens if there is sperm in the uterus during different points of the menstrual cycle.” Have each student with a sperm page stand under Days 24- 28. Say, “You can see that sperm in the body during this time is not as likely to start a pregnancy because it’s less likely there is an egg around.”

    Next, have the people holding the five sperm pages move to stand under Days 11 – 15. Say, “You can see how if there is sperm present either BEFORE or DURING the same time when the egg – the bouncy balls in our case – are present, that is the time when a pregnancy is most likely to happen.” Lastly, ask for one other volunteer and give them the birth control page. Ask them to stand between the students holding the bouncy balls and the students with the sperm card to physically block the two from meeting. Ask students, “What is the birth control doing?” Take some responses and make sure to tell students the following,

    “Birth control, if used correctly and consistently, prevents the sperm and egg from uniting by either blocking the sperm or preventing an egg from leaving the ovary in addition to other ways.” (7 minutes)

    STEP 7: Have the volunteers return the bouncy balls, birth control and sperm pages to you and return to their seats. End by asking, “What does this tell you about when pregnancy is most likely to happen?” Take a few responses and clarify any lingering misconceptions. End the lesson by saying, “Since this is just a typical menstrual cycle and we know that everyone is unique, if someone chooses to have vaginal sex but does not want to become pregnant/get their partner pregnant, it is most effective to either postpone vaginal sex or to use an effective form of birth control consistently and correctly.”

    Explain that this was a very brief introduction to contraception. Let the students know if you will be covering in more detail during a later class, or whether this is something they will likely learn more about in a future grade.

    Distribute and explain the homework. (5 minutes)


    The card line up activity will meet the first learning objective while the stem sentence activity and discussion will meet the second learning objective.


    The homework is a short quiz titled “Reproduction Myth vs Fact” intended for students to complete with a parent/caregiver in order to facilitate a conversation about reproduction.


    Teacher Resource: Human Reproduction Sample Definitions


    The following are key terms for the explanation of human reproduction and a sample definition appropriate for use with seventh graders. It is important to review these definitions prior to teaching the lesson and with your supervisor to make sure they align with your school district and/or state policy governing instruction.


    Please note this is for your reference only and should not be distributed to your students

    Human Reproduction

    Human reproduction is a cycle in which a sperm and egg join and then implant into the lining of the uterus. After approximately nine months of growth, a baby is born.


    Vaginal Sex (called penis-in-vagina sex, PIV sex, sexual intercourse)

    Vaginal sex, sometimes called sexual intercourse, is when an erect penis is inserted into a vagina. If this results in ejaculation, semen is released from the penis. Semen contains millions of sperm, one of which is needed to cause a pregnancy. If the couple is not using a contraceptive method, like condoms or the pill, the sperm in the semen can join with an egg, if one is present. If it implants in a uterus, it creates a pregnancy.



    When sperm is placed inside the vagina or uterus to facilitate fertilization.

    • Intracervical Insemination (ICI): Sperm is placed in the vagina with a needless syringe (a syringe without a needle). ICI is often done at home.
    • Intrauterine insemination (IUI): Sperm is placed in the uterus with a catheter placed on the end of the syringe. A catheter is a thin, flexible tube that can be threaded through the vagina, cervix and into the uterus. This is typically done at home with the help of a medical provider (midwife or nurse), but is more commonly done in a medical setting. Sperm must be processed before it can be introduced into the uterus.


    In Vitro Fertilization

    When an egg is fertilized by sperm outside of the human body. After 3-6 days after fertilization, embryos can be frozen and used later, or transferred to the uterus where implantation can occur.



    Someone who provides egg or sperm cells, or embryos to someone else, so they can create a pregnancy.


    Surrogate: An individual who is pregnant and gives birth to a baby for someone else. There are two types:

    • Genetic surrogate or traditional surrogate: Pregnancy is the result of insemination with sperm from either a donor or the intended parent. It is the genetic surrogate’s egg that creates the pregnancy, so the genetic surrogate has a genetic link to the baby.
    • Gestational carrier or gestational surrogate: Pregnancy is the result of IVF with egg and/or sperm from a donor and/or an intended parent. The resulting embryo is placed into the uterus of the gestational carrier. The gestational carrier has no genetic link to the baby.


    Some people define conception as when the sperm and egg join together. Others define it as when the embryo implants in the uterus. For this lesson, we do not define conception either way - we simply describe both fertilization and implantation as the way to start a viable pregnancy. (Sometimes fertilized eggs attach outside the uterus (called an ectopic pregnancy), and these can not continue to develop, and thus are not viable pregnancies).


    The process by which an embryo attaches to the lining of the uterus.



    The medically accurate name for the developing pregnancy prior to birth.


    Once a fertilized egg successfully implants in the lining of the uterus, a pregnancy has begun. Typically, a pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks but can terminate for many reasons including a spontaneous abortion (also called a miscarriage) or by choice or medical necessity (called an elective abortion).