The Mask of Life
The different roles we play and the different masks we wear throughout our lives are emphasized by discussions and activities such as the construction of face masks from plasterparis bandaging. This activity requires cooperation and trust between students. We usually demonstrate on ourselves. 0ne individual lies on a table top and has her face covered, except for her mouth, with plastic wrap. Care is taken to protect her hair and clothes. Strips that vary in size, 28”, are cut from the castbandaging roll. These are dipped in water, and then placed on the protected face until the entire face is covered. The plasterofparts dries enough within 510 minutes to allow the mask to be removed from the face. The masks should be allowed to dry overnight before students decorate them.
How Does the World See Me?
This activity allows students to compare their view of themselves with how someone else views them. Students are paired up, preferably not with a friend, but merely with a classmate. Each student receives a specially folded ditto sheet with a hand mirror on the front and inside. Each student writes down on the
mirror at least ten characteristics that describe how they think others perceive them—shy, outgoing, truthful, etc.. The students then tape close the outside flaps and give the sheets to their partner. The partner writes down on the
mirror those characteristics that they feel best describe the individual. The sheets are then returned to their owners.
I have found that students understand cell structure, DNA, chromosomes, and genes if they can see and handle a model. The typical cell can be represented by a container that separates such as the L’Eggs “egg.” The nucleus of the cell can be represented by the clear plastic containers found in gum type machines. The chromosomes can be represented by pieces of pipe cleaners. And finally the genes on the chromosomes can be represented by different colored thread wrapped around the pipe cleaners.
(figure available in print form)
Put the pipe cleaners which represent the chromosomes with genes on them inside the clear plastic container that represents the nucleus which goes inside the Lieges container that represents a typical cell.
You are now ready to use your model in discussions on genetics.
Sample lesson in genetics:
All humans begin life as one fertilized egg formed by the joining of the male sperm with the female egg cell. This fertilized egg grows by dividing into two cells, then into four, and so on, until an adult body contains approximately 60 trillion (60,000,000,000,000) cells.
1. When a sperm cell and an egg cell join, the result is a ____ egg.
2. An adult body contains approximately ______ cells.
How do all of these rapidly dividing cells grow into the many different kinds of cells a human body needs? How do they know what their job is? Amazingly enough, each one of these 60 trillion cells carries the
information that directs that cell’s growth and development. This information is found inside the cell’s
on structures called
. In humans there are 23 pairs or 46 tiny threadlike chromosomes. Chromosomes are made up of smaller parts called
. Each gene is made up of a certain amount of
. DNA appears to be the storage place for all hereditary information. Each gene is related to a particular trait or characteristic, such as color of eyes, skin and hair, blood type, etc., Genes come in pairs with one gene of each pair coming from the mother and the other gene coming from the father. There are estimated to be about 30,000 genes in the nucleus of most cells in the body.
3. Hereditary information is carried within the cell’s ___, on threadlike structures called ______.
4. Chromosomes are made up of smaller units called ______.
5. Each gene is made up of ___ ___ ___ which stores the hereditary information.
6. Humans have ______ chromosomes
The pronunciation of all new vocabulary words introduced would be worked on by students when they are in their groups with Ann.
You are going to use your own family to study how the genes, located on chromosomes that are found in the nucleus, express themselves. Genes for certain traits, or characteristics, express themselves in different ways. For example, some characteristics, such as eye and hair color, hair texture and blood type, have a variety of possible expressions of the same trait. Other characteristics, such as Hr factor and hair on the second digit of any finger, are either expressed or they are not expressed. Yet other characteristics, such as the ability to taste a chemical called P.T.C., are not expressed in a way that can be seen. Other characteristics, such as baldness, are not expressed until later in life.
Use the table below to record some of the characteristics of your family. The more information that you can gather from different family members, the more you will be able to see how certain characteristics are inherited.
(figure available in print form)
Students eagerly contribute to the discussion of heredity versus environment when they understand that each person gets his unique combination of genes at the moment of conception and that combination remains constant till death. But the environment starts to INFLUENCE the expression of those genes the very next moment after conception and continues to do so till death. Students are very interested in the genetics of defects, such as diabetes, glaucoma, Down’s Syndrome(mongolism), hemophilia and sicklecell anemia. A guest speaker from the National Foundation March of Dimes, 135 College St., New Haven, 7877459, who can accurately address these problems is a resource to use.
CHICK EMBRYONIC DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITY
How a baby develops during the time between conception and birth is usually a total mystery to our students. They are aware of the obvious physical changes that occur in the mother during pregnancy because they have observed it in themselves or seen it in others. The use of aids in studying human fetal development such as dittos, films, slides and pictures in books are helpful, but it is still not real to many of our students. If only there could be a window through which they could look at the developing baby it would make it easier for them to grasp. The study of the development of the chick embryo is the “handson” experience that enables students to view embryonic development.
Before getting into chick development, I introduce the unit by having students prepare simple egg recipes in class, such as hard boiled, scrambled, fried, omelets and meringues. We do egg blowing and then decorate the egg shells with magic markers and paint. Remember that the contents of the egg shell can be used for cooking, and that the yolk can be separated (an art in itself) and pigments can be added to this base to make different colored paints as did the artists of long ago. If you are brave, you can have students attempt to break a raw egg by placing the egg in the palm of their hand and squeezing it lengthwise or sidewise. No fingernails allowed’ Be prepared in case of breakage. Have the class look at the different grades of eggs(AA, A, B) and how they are sized (jumbo, extralarge, large, etc.). Investigate the nutritional value, as well as, the structure of the egg(shell and its membranes, air sac, albumen, yolk, and the strands of albumen that anchor the yolk). Have FUN!
The following is an activity that I have adapted from
Education for Sexuality
by John Burt and Linda Mecca to fit the needs of students in
Reading, Writing and Relating
The chick egg provides an excellent material for studying the development of the embryo. It has been used as an experimental “tool” for over three hundred years.
Eggs laid by hens(female domestic fowl) come in two varieties fertilized and unfertilized. The eggs you buy at the grocery store are unfertilized. They have not been joined by the father rooster’s(male domestic fowl) sperm. The eggs you buy from the grocery store will not hatch a chick. For new life to begin to grow, an egg cell from the mother must be joined with a sperm cell from the father.
1. Female domestic fowls are called ______.
2. Male domestic fowls are called ______.
3. The eggs you eat at breakfast are ______ eggs.
4. New life begins to grow when an ______ cell from the mother joins with a ______ cell from the father.
In the hen there is an opening under her tail feathers. This opening is the beginning of a long tube inside the mother hen. This opening is called the
. The oviduct is a long tube that leads to the mother hen’s eggs or
. Almost every day in the mother hen’s life one of her eggs enters her oviduct. Food for the egg surrounds it and is called the
. There is a little white cloudy spot on the egg yolk that is called the
. The germspot is a special place for the sperm cell of the rooster. If no sperm cell gets to the germspot, the egg will NOT be fertilized and no chick can grow. The egg will be
and it will be the type of egg we eat as scrambled eggs or mix in a cake mix.
5. Eggs in a hen get to the outside of her body by traveling down a long tube called the ______.
6. Eggs in a hen are also called ______.
7. Food for the hen’s egg is called the ______.
8. The joining of the rooster’s sperm with the hen’s egg happens at the ______.
9. If the sperm and the egg do NOT meet at the germspot, the egg will be ______ and is the type we eat at breakfast.
10. If the sperm and the egg do meet at the germspot, the egg will be and a baby chick will develop.
To understand how the sperm cell gets to the germspot, we must look at the father rooster. He has an opening beneath his tail feathers too. It leads to where his sperms are made. The father rooster makes a lot of squawking noises and circles around the mother hen to get her attention. The father rooster jumps on the hen’s back and presses the opening beneath his tail against the mother hen’s opening beneath her tail. The sperms enter her oviduct. They swim toward her egg. One of the sperms will join with the egg at the germspot. Now the germspot on the egg can start to grow into the chick. As the egg, fertilized by the sperm or unfertilized, starts to travel down the oviduct, it is surrounded by egg white which keeps it from drying out. An outer shell forms around the egg to protect it even more. The “egg” is well protected when it comes out of the opening beneath the mother hen’s tail feathers and is laid into the nest.
11. Sperms from the rooster come out by an opening located ______.
12. The sperms swim to meet the hen’s egg in the ______.
13. The sperm and the egg join at the ______.
14. As the egg, fertilized or unfertilized, travels down the oviduct it is surrounded by ______ which protects the egg from ______.
15. The egg is protected even more by the formation of a ______ around it.
The fertilized egg has about 21 days of growing to do inside the eggshell before it becomes a chick and hatches. A remarkable change begins inside the fertilized eggshell when it is kept warm. Most of the time the egg is kept warm by the mother hen sitting on it, but we can do the same job by using an incubator. It is important to understand that the mother hen does not control her egg production. One egg is laid everyday whether it is fertilized or not. Commercial egg farmers want Unfertilized eggs, so they would keep roosters away from their hens, but chicken farmers want fertilized eggs, so they would keep roosters with the hens.
16. It takes about ______ days for a fertilized egg that has been laid to develop into a chick.
17. Necessary heat for the developing chick can come from the hen sitting on the egg or from an ______.
NOTE TO TEACHERS
Students should be able to tell or write about how an egg is fertilized and how an egg is laid. They should also be able to put the following sentences into correct order:
a. The rooster sends his sperms into the hen.
b. The developing chick is kept warm in the eggshell.
c. The fertilized egg hatches.
d. The hen releases an ova.
e. A yolk covers the egg.
f. A shell covers the egg.
g. The hen lays the egg.
h. The white covers the yolk of the egg.
TIMELIFE SPAN ACTIVITY
I have felt that one important goal of my teaching is to instill in students a realization of the possible length of their lives and the possibilities that span in time holds for them. Many times it is difficult “to see the forest for the trees.” To get students to look at the whole picture, I first have them look at the building block, a day, 24 hours at a time. We initially do the “Pie of Life,”
a values clarification exercise in which students visually divide up a typical 24hour day into the categories which define their day, such as: sleep, school, work, activities with friends, TV, or whatever. They are supplied with a worksheet ditto that contains the following activities:
(figure available in print form)
We discuss that a circle represents 24hours, so 12 hours
would be half of the circle, 6 hours would be onequarter
of the circle, etc.
2. Students having completed the above exercise are ready to divide up their circle. It is helpful to make a distinction between a weekday and a weekend because students’ lives differ sharply between the two. I once again use myself as a real life model of how my day is divided up. The pie of a student might look something like the following:
(figure available in print form)
I strongly feel that presenting the same factual information in several ways affords for maximum student understanding. Therefore, I have students represent their typical day in bar graph fashion as well.
(figure available in print form)
Now that students have a realistic grasp on the building block of life, a day, we can move on to their potential life span. Students are given graph paper, each square of which represents a year of their life. Students are encouraged to discuss how long THEY think they will live. The depth of these discussions is up to the teacher. Each student indicates how old he or she thinks they will be when they will die. They then take a piece of graph paper(more if needed) with large squares and count off ONE square for each year of their expected life span, birth till death. They indicate significant events such as entering elementary school, graduating from middle school, and anticipated graduation from high school, college or job training may be a consideration for many students. They should then enter such events as possible marriage, when first to LAST child is born, when LAST child enters fullday school, and when that last child graduates from high school. Emphasis should be placed on career goals for BOTH male and female students. What do YOU want to make of your life? What must YOU do or sacrifice to make those goals attainable? Hopefully, students will look at long range goals and not be tempted to “live for the moment.”
(figure available in print form)
The important message to students is that you need to plan ahead. If you want an active sexlife NOW, but you aren’t ready for the long lasting consequences of children, you need to PLAN!! You can’t leave it up to LUCK. Decide ahead of time when having a family fits into your OVERALL plans for your life. Don’t be a victim of chance, the odds are not in your favor.
These activities are an excellent leadin to discussions on birth control. The responsibility of both the male and the female in sound family planning can never be stressed too much in my book A child is a commitment for many years. A baby is not always a bundle from heaven. Babies get sick, they cry, they even spit up foul smelling curdled milk and ooze diarrhea from their diapers at the most inappropriate times. Plan ahead. What do YOU need to do to insure your goals? Students need to be made aware of THEIR own part in their destiny. They are not marionettes on the stage of life.
Stimulate discussions by the use of cartoons from newspapers and magazines. They present many different points in humorous combination with pictures in a simple manner that even the basic reader can handle. For example:
One cartoon could have a little girl explaining to her mother about a love scene on T.V..
“We learned all about that in our sex class.
Another cartoon might have a little boy explaining to his friend what one adult is really trying to tell another adult.
“Carol’s in a family way.”(adult)
“That means she’s pregnant.”(child)
Another could have an elderly man reading a book.
“You really know you’re getting old, when you hear the word ‘kinky’ and you think of hair.
Have students look for examples of cartoons to be discussed in class and have them make up a cartoon bulletin board where the cartoons can be displayed with the name of the student who brought them in.
A very popular cartoon series, “Love is...” by Kim,
is featured in the
New Haven Journal Courier
. These are excellent discussion starters and “primers” for the beginning reader because of the basic vocabulary used. Students will quickly come up with their own definitions of what love is. Making a class mural is a good way to share their thoughts and feelings with the rest of the student body in the school. For examples
“Love is...not letting too much space come between you.”
“Love is...trying to understand her/his moods.”
“Love is...wearing your heart on your sleeve.”
This becomes a springboard exercise. You can then have students do “Friendship is..”, “Respect is.., “Caring is..”, and any other qualities you want students to explore. It is also useful to discuss negative or painful qualities as well, “Hate is.., “Pain is..”, “Loneliness is..”, “Jealousy is..”. Once again, the teacher giving a few of her own definitions is an excellent way to start student contributions. Have the students volunteer their definitions which you can then put on the board if their written vocabulary is limited.