Suggested lesson plans
Below are two potential lesson plans to address menstrual health, both are approximately 60 minutes long. Feel free to adapt these for your pupils and the time available.
Periods affect over 50% of the population. Everyone needs to understand what they are, how they affect people and how to manage them. Knowing your own body and how this differs between men and woman is key to understanding reproductive health.
- Improve knowledge of female reproductive anatomy and female endocrinology
- Understand the impact of menstruation on education/work/family/finance/environment
- Apply this knowledge of menstruation to make things easier for those who menstruate
- Pictures of reproductive organs
- TEDx talk YouTube
- Projector/smart board
1. (5 mins) Get students to come up with a “set of rules” for discussing sensitive issues. Students should decide these themselves and should be clearly documented and visible during the lesson. E.g. confidentiality, no personal information, no laughing at others, respect for others, no phones etc. If students come up with these and agree on them before the lesson formally begins, any breaking of the “rules” can be called out during the lesson.
(b) Female internal reproductive anatomy
Feedback for students, covering anatomy and function of each body part.
3. (20 mins) Link to endocrinology after discussion of ovaries and testes. Show or get students to draw the menstrual cycle hormonal profile – progesterone and estradiol versus testosterone levels over 1 month. Relevance for males – liken swings to changes in another bodily function, e.g. temperature and ask how this may impact on life. Also highlight positives of different hormones, progesterone (anti-inflammatory), estradiol (energy and regenerative potiential). Show Tedx talk on using the menstrual cycle to your benefit
Conclusion: Final questions
Summary of reproductive anatomy and endocrinology
Relevance of this for daily life
Evaluation: Write down two things you learnt and one thing that you still don’t quite understand (?may inform next lesson)
Periods affect over 50% of the population. Everyone needs to understand what they are, how they affect people and how to manage them.
Improve knowlege of what menstruation is and how to manage it.
Understand that there are positive and negative experiences of menstruation
Understand the impact of menstruation on education/work/family/finance/environment
Apply this knowledge of menstruation to make things easier for those who menstruate
YouTube and smartboard/projector
Menstrual products – pads/tampons/menstrual cups of different sizes and absorbency
1. (5 mins) Summary of previous lesson and refresh class “rules”
2. (15 mins) Watch video on menstruation
https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-menstruation-definition-cycle.html (registration required)
Suggested discussion points:
- Menstruation is an inflammatory process that completely resolves every month. There is no scarring or loss of function – unlike any other organ that becomes inflamed (lung fibrosis/liver damage/kidney disease).
- Menstruation only occurs in a few species (humans, old world primates, elephant shrew). Other animals reabsorb the endometrium, rather than shedding it. Why is this? We do not know this and that is why more research is needed.
3. (20 mins) Discuss how to manage menstrual flow. Bring different pads, tampons and menstrual cups for pupils to open and ask questions about.
Suggested discussion points:
- Amount of bleeding/pain: conditions that can cause problematic bleeding include fibroids (overgrowths of the muscle layer of the womb that are very common and can cause heavy bleeding) or endometriosis (where the lining of the womb - endometrium - is found outside the uterus and may cause painful periods).
- Environmental impact of menstruation
- Cost of period products
- Culture and menstruation
- How could the world be changed to make menstruation more manageable?
4. (20 mins) watch TED talk (options below)
Discussion of toilet facilities/impact of uniforms etc.
Conclusions: Summary of menstruation, how to manage menstruation and its impact on society.
Evaluation: two things you have learnt and one you’re still not sure about.