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Deadly DesiresDeadly-Desires

  • Subject: Social/Emotional Health
  • |
  • Grade(s): 6-12
  • |
  • Duration: Three class periods

Lesson Plan Sections


Students will
  • review statistics about teens and sexuality,
  • learn about the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and
  • research and write an informational brochure on STDs.


  • Computer with Internet access
  • Print and online resources about STDs
  • What are some reasons teens may engage in unprotected sex? (poor planning, use of drugs or alcohol, fear of talking about it with partner)


  1. The statistics say that teens are at great risk for developing STDs. Review some of these statistics with the class.
    • Forty-five percent of teens have had sex.
    • Of those teens who are sexually active, 30 percent have had sex without a condom.
    • One in four sexually active teens will contract at least one STD.
    • There are 40,000 new cases of HIV diagnosed in the United State each year, and three out of every five of these cases was contracted during the teen years.
    • Seventy-five percent of women and half the men diagnosed with chlamydia experience no symptoms.
    • Between 60 and 80 percent of people wish they'd waited longer to have sex.
  2. The statistics also show that most students don't understand STDs or how to prevent their spread. To address this, they will research and produce a brochure about STDs. You can divide the class into groups of three or four to work on a single brochure. Urge students to be creative in developing the brochures and to use computer graphics programs to make them. The brochures should be brief and easy to read, but also informational. They should cover
    • what STDs are and how they are transmitted,
    • descriptions of some of the most common STDs (including HIV/AIDS) and why they are dangerous,
    • how STDs are treated, and
    • what to do to prevent transmission of STDs.
  3. Students should use print and online resources to produce their brochures. The following are helpful.Note: You may wish to preview the sites to ensure that they are appropriate for your students. Many contain frank discussions about sex that may not be appropriate for younger students.
  4. After the brochures are complete, have each group present its finished product to the group. Let everyone vote for the best-designed brochure, the easiest-to-read brochure, best overall, etc. You can give out small rewards to the winners. You might also consider printing up extra copies of the brochures to distribute to other classes in the school.
  • For a focused study of the AIDS epidemic, visit the New York Times Learning Network page "So Little Time: Investigating the Short History of the AIDS Epidemic" at
    . In the activity, students take a quiz to separate myth from fact about AIDS transmission, research the spread of AIDS in the world, and create a timeline of the disease's advance.
  • Crossroads ( is an online decision-making game that accompanies information and activities connected with the PBS P.O.V. program "5 Girls." Although the program is about teen girls, the scenarios presented in the game are appropriate for all teens. The questions and site content aren't exclusively about teen sexuality, but it is one area of focus. The site offers activities and resources at
  • As pointed out in the video, most students believe "everyone" is having sex, when in reality, less than half are. The pressure to do what everyone else is doing can be strong, so it's important for teens to be armed with knowledge and conviction to help them make the right choices. To help students explore how they feel about the subject, they can go to the excellent Planned Parenthood page "How Do You Know When You're Ready for Sex" at Students can read some background and take a brief questionnaire to help them evaluate their feelings.

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Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points: Students were highly engaged in class discussions, conducted thorough research, and produced a creative and informative brochure.
  • Two points: Students participated in class discussions, conducted adequate research, and produced an informative brochure.
  • One point: Students participated minimally in class discussions, conducted minimal research, and produced a simplistic brochure.

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Definition: Bacterial STD exhibiting few symptoms that may lead to infertility if left untreated
Context: Chlamydia is the most common STD among teens.

genital herpes
Definition: Also known as herpes simplex virus 2, a viral STD that causes sores on the genitals
Context: There is no cure for genital herpes, and it can be passed to someone else even when no sores or symptoms are present.

genital warts
Definition: STD caused by human papillomavirus that causes warts on the genitals
Context: If left untreated, genital warts may cause cervical cancer in women.

Definition: Bacterial STD that may cause a discharge in men and show few symptoms in women
Context: Serious problems such as widespread infection and infertility can result from untreated gonorrhea.

Definition: HIV (humane immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). AIDS is a disease in which the body becomes unable to fight off infections.
Context: HIV is the sexually transmitted virus that can cause AIDS, a fatal, incurable disease.

Definition: Sexually transmitted disease
Context: Practicing safe-sex techniques such as using a condom can prevent STDs.

Definition: Bacterial STD that begins with genital sores and progresses through four increasingly dangerous stages
Context: Untreated syphilis can stay in the body for years and may lead to brain damage or severe birth defects if passed from mother to child.

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The National Science Education Standards provide guidelines for teaching science as well as a coherent vision of what it means to be scientifically literate for students in grades K-12. To view the standards, visit
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Science as Inquiry: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • Life Science: Structure and function in living systems; Reproduction and heredity
  • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives: Personal health; Risks and benefits

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Rhonda Lucas Donald, curriculum writer, editor, and consultant

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