Anyone who has worked with middle school students understands what a ride of emotions middle school can be. However, teenagers shouldn't have to deal with the emotional change in attitude associated with their changing body. The transition from childhood to adulthood should, ideally, be a comfortable and fun time. Students should not be mortified by the idea of growing hair in places that never had hair before, developing breasts, and having their first period. Educating students early enough about the changes that are going to happen and explaining why they happen seems to reduce the shock factor that puberty gives many children.
While teaching a genetics and reproduction unit this year I was reminded how easy it is for students to get caught up on very small details and questions related to their bodies. This unit will be a way to reassure my middle schoolers that what is happening to them is the same thing that is happening to young teens all around the world; they are not alone.