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"Smart Choices About Sex"

Estimated Time of Completion: Two 50-minute periods

I. Summary
II. Objectives
III. Materials Needed
IV. Procedure
V. Classroom Assessment
VI. Extensions and Adaptations
VII. Online Resources
VIII. Relevant National Standards

I. Summary:

For grades 7-12. In this lesson students will explore peer pressure as it relates to sex and their decision whether to yield to such pressure.

II. Objectives:

III. Materials Needed:

IV. Procedure:

  1. This lesson can be taught to a co-ed classroom or can be altered to be taught through a gender specific approach.

  2. If available, show the PBS In the Mix video "Sex: Everyone's Doin' It...Not!"

  3. Divide the class into four groups:

    • Group 1: "Church"
    • Group 2: "The Media
    • Group 3: "Friends"
    • Group 4: "Family

    Give each group a piece of flip chart paper and some markers. Have each group collectively list what messages and values they receive from the agency assigned to them related to sex and sexuality. If the class is co-ed, the instructor may want to divide the class into 8 groups, creating a male and female group for each topic. It will be very interesting to see the different messages between the sexes.

  4. Have each group present their list and encourage any additions from other participants. Tape sheets on the wall so everyone can easily view them.

  5. Have each participant come up with their own personal list of values related to sex and sexuality from the main list and add any not mentioned. Students should identify which values are uniquely theirs. Which would they never compromise on?

  6. Have students divide a piece of paper into two columns, in the first column have them list sayings or situations that would put them at risk of giving into the peer pressure to have sex as a teen. In the second column have them write what they could do to prevent the situation or how they could react to it once it happens. (i.e. Drunk at a party, don't drink; if you know you will be drinking, ask a friend to remain sober to watch out for you and stick by your side)

  7. Discuss Myths and Facts.

  8. Have the students design a brochure or poster board with alternatives teenage couples can do instead of have sex (i.e. go to a movie, hold hands, kiss, go rollerblading, go for a drive, talk to the phone).

V. Classroom Assessment:

Most of this class is based on group participation. It would be suggested to give a student points on participation on a scale of 1-25 and the same scale for their completed poster or brochure.

VI. Extensions and Adaptations:

If class consists of older students, have them present information on why you should wait to have sex to junior high age students.

VII. Online Resources:

VIII. Relevant National Standards:

These are established by McREL at http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/docs/contents.html:

Life Skills

Language Arts



About the Author:
Dana Arvidson
has worked with at-risk youth for 10 years in residential treatment centers, and has developed group programming for the Ramsey County Probation Department in Minnesota. Her current focus is work with adolescent girls and spending more time with her 10-year-old daughter, Alyssa.

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