Help my Students Learn about Puberty and Reproduction!
Organized by: Kaitlin Cutshaw
My students are typical teens despite the many aspects of their lives that are not so "typical". They navigate a vibrantly urban and often dangerous neighborhood each day to get to school. While many of them spend most of their time outside of school in this same neighborhood, they feel very little connection to the community. Violence, drugs and poverty are all present issues that I think turn them off from confidently calling this community home.
The "typical" teen problems that they do have, like any other middle-school-aged student, is awkwardness and confusion. Confusion about who they are, who they want to be and with whom they want to be friends. Among all this confusion, there is one thing they should be completely clear on: how and why their bodies are changing at this time in their lives.
I still remember the presentations I sat through on puberty and reproduction when I was in middle school. I can recognize now how vital this was to my understanding of the changes my body was going through and how this relates to human reproduction. I want this same experience for my students not out of selfishness but because I know they have many questions about what they are experiencing that NEED to be answered. This is why I am fundraising for my students to participate in a field trip that would inform and educate them in this area. My hope is that this experience will also emphasize to my students the importance of making smart decisions when pressured to be sexually active.
On June 3rd, my 7th grade classes will be taking a field trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in downtown Chicago. While at the museum, students will participate in an interactive learning lab called “Life Begins: Puberty, Reproduction and Prenatal Development”. This interactive lab is lead by a trained health educator from the Robert Crown Center for Health Education and gives an overview of human reproduction, fetal development and the birth process. Students will engage in a discussion of male and female reproductive anatomy, topics related to puberty and changes in the body, as well as an introduction to human fertilization, development of the fetus and the process of labor and delivery. These learning labs, though incredibly informative, are extremely expensive. Adding in costs for transportation to the museum, this trip will cost each of my students about $10. Many of my students' families struggle with finances and I anticipate that this cost would deter many students from participating. I do not want any kid to miss out on this exciting and important opportunity because they unable to pay. In addition, there is very little funding available at my school for field trips.
We will need a total of $800 to cover the price of two buses, one for each 7th grade class, and the price of the learning labs for each class.
Though it is going to be excruciatingly awkward and uncomfortable, I believe that this trip is something from which my students can really benefit. Please help out!