Teaching human reproduction can be difficult, but it can be made easier by using appropriate instructional strategies. Implementing student-focused activities will help students delve into a sensitive subject with more ease. Covering the subtopics of human reproduction, anatomy and physiology separately and in a clinical manner will also help to ease anxiety associated with discussion of the subject matter. The two concepts can then be discussed together to define the human reproductive system.

An Organ for Review

Groups research and present information about a reproductive organ.
Groups research and present information about a reproductive organ.

Put students into small groups, and assign each group a different organ to research. Provide a rubric for the research assignment that will indicate exactly what type of information is required. For instance, one group might research the fallopian tubes: structure, function, diseases, disorders and treatments. It is a good idea to focus on either the male or female reproductive system, but not both at the same time. Group presentations then might follow.

3-D Representation

Put each component of the reproductive system on a little slip of paper, and put those into a bag. Ask students to reach into the bag and select a slip of paper. Once they have selected a slip of a paper indicating their component, ask students to choose between making a 3-D representation of the component or drawing and labeling the component in detail. Same-sex students might be more comfortable working together on this project.

A Parking Lot Graphic

Group drawing helps students see how one component relates to another.
Group drawing helps students see how one component relates to another.

Complete a chalk drawing of the reproductive system in the parking lot. Direct students (one group at a time) to draw an assigned component according to a predetermined scale. For instance, Group One will draw the ovaries, labeling the ova and membrane. The next group will draw the fallopian tubes, labeling the fingers and cilia, taking special care to build upon the overall picture. Groups continue adding to the drawing until the picture is complete.

The Journey of the Female Egg --- Ovum

Assign each group of students a component of the female reproductive system. In a large area, ask students to sit on the floor with their group, leaving two opening in the group. Select a student to act as the "ovum." The ovum will begin the journey standing in the ovary group. The members of the ovary group will provide information about the ovum and tell the ovum where she is headed. The process continues as the ovum travels throughout the reproductive system --- from ovulation to menstruation or fertilization and implantation.

The Journey of the Male --- Sperm

Assign each group of students a component of the male reproductive system. In a large area, ask students to sit on the floor with their group, leaving two opening in the group. Select a student to act as the "sperm." The sperm will begin the journey standing in the epididymis group. The members of the epididymis group will provide information about the sperm and tell the sperm where he is headed. The process continues as the sperm travels throughout the reproductive system --- from development to ejaculation and fertilization.