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Middle School – Comprehensive Sexual Health Lesson Plan

This sequence of 25 lessons from the HealthSmart middle school program, including the supplemental lesson available on the HealthSmart website, provides a comprehensive sexual health education unit aligned with the HECAT Knowledge and Skills Expectations, the National Sexuality Education Standards and the California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA).

See the full CHYA alignment

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Unit Key: ABST = Abstinence, Puberty & Personal Health; HIV/STI = HIV, STI & Pregnancy Prevention; NPA = Nutrition & Physical Activity; VIP = Violence & Injury Prevention*
*Note: You must have purchased these units in either print or digital format to have full access to the lesson materials.


ABST Lesson 4: Talking About Sexuality

This lesson introduces the topic of sexuality and puberty. Students develop classroom agreements for discussion, then define and look at different aspects of sexuality. They discuss why it is important to be able to talk about sexuality with parents and other trusted adults and identify sources of accurate information.

HIV/STI Lesson 2: Sexual Identity & Sexual Stereotyping

In this lesson, students learn about sexual identity and the problems with sexual stereotyping. After reading about different types of sexual attractions and gender roles, they examine common sexual stereotypes. They discuss ways to challenge stereotypes and then practice responding to a variety of situations in which stereotyping is occurring.

HIV/STI Lesson 3: What Is Affirmative Consent?

This lesson begins with an activity in which students practice listening and communicating in verbal and nonverbal ways. They review and discuss a definition of Affirmative Consent. Then they work in teams to apply the things they have learned by analyzing scenarios where consent may or may not be present. The full class reviews and discusses the scenarios.

HIV/STI Lesson 4: Healthy Romantic Relationships

In this lesson, students learn about healthy romantic relationships. They list words that describe a good relationship in their lives, then learn about and discuss qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships. They practice in identifying healthy and unhealthy qualities in some relationship scenarios. Then they complete an activity sheet to identify qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships and explain how these qualities might look in a romantic relationship.

ABST Lesson 5: The Reproductive System: A Body with a Vagina

This lesson teaches about the vagina and related reproductive anatomy. After learning the names and functions of these reproductive organs, students test their knowledge through a matching activity. They then complete an activity sheet about what they’ve learned.

ABST Lesson 6: The Reproductive System: A Body with a Penis

This lesson teaches about the penis and related reproductive anatomy. After learning the names and functions of these reproductive organs, students test their knowledge through a matching activity. They then complete an activity sheet about what they’ve learned.

ABST Lesson 7: Puberty

In this informational lesson, students learn about puberty. Small groups brainstorm physical, emotional and social changes they think occur during puberty. The class discusses and evaluates the groups’ lists, and then students complete an activity sheet on the changes they learned about. As homework, students interview parents or other adults about puberty and sexuality.

ABST Lesson 8: The Menstrual Cycle & Pregnancy

This lesson teaches about ovulation, the menstrual cycle and fertilization. Students read about the menstrual cycle, then work in pairs to answer questions about the reading. They also read about and discuss fertilization and how pregnancy occurs. Then pairs complete an activity sheet that reviews the material covered in the last 4 lessons.

NPA Lesson 11: Body Image Basics

This lesson examines the importance of a positive body image. Students learn the definition of body image and discuss factors that can influence how people view their bodies. They examine media messages about body image and appearance and analyze how these can affect body image. Then they explore steps to help build a positive body image.

ABST Lesson 9: Taking Care of Sexual Health

In this lesson, students learn about taking care of their sexual health. They examine the definition of sexuality, then, in small groups, read about ways young people can protect their sexual health. They complete an activity sheet to show what they’ve learned.

ABST Lesson 10: Feelings & Relationships

In this lesson, students explore appropriate and inappropriate ways to show feelings of attraction toward others. They discuss how feelings change during puberty and the negative consequences of having sex. They learn about sexual abstinence and setting personal limits as a way to avoid those consequences. Then they complete an activity in which they list healthy and safe ways to express romantic feelings.

ABST Lesson 11: Benefits of Abstinence

This lesson reinforces the choice to be abstinent. Students identify the benefits of sexual abstinence and vote on a list of the top 10 benefits. Then they use what they have learned to compose a letter of advice about abstinence.

HIV/STI Lesson 5: Reproduction & Teen Pregnancy

This lesson reviews facts about reproduction and pregnancy. After reading about how fertilization occurs, students take part in an activity that helps them understand the risk of pregnancy as a result of unprotected sex. They list consequences that would occur if they became teen parents, and work in pairs to create posters of the top 3 reasons not to become a teen parent. They take home a family sheet to help them discuss the challenges of being a parent with a parent or guardian.

HIV/STI Lesson 6: STI Facts

In this lesson, students study facts about sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They define STI and learn how STIs are transmitted. After reading more about STIs, they work in small groups to review the facts, including symptoms, which STIs can and cannot be cured, and the physical, social and emotional consequences of STI.

HIV/STI Lesson 7: HIV Facts

In this lesson, students learn facts about HIV. After learning the definition of HIV, they take part in an activity designed to illustrate the risks of HIV transmission. They discuss how HIV is transmitted and then discuss the activity results to understand ways to help prevent it. The teacher clarifies that HIV can’t be transmitted by everyday activities or day-to-day contact, and then explains the symptoms and long-term health consequences of untreated HIV.

HIV/STI Lesson 14: Preventing Pregnancy

In this lesson, students learn about some commonly used birth control methods. Students brainstorm a list of contraceptive methods they may have heard about. They learn about how different types of methods work and their effectiveness, including which methods protect from pregnancy only and which help protect from HIV and other STD as well as pregnancy.

HIV/STI Lesson 8: STI & Responsible Actions

This lesson reinforces taking care of sexual health by teaching responsible actions around STI prevention. After discussing the responsibilities of a person who has an STI, students read and discuss a story to learn more about the importance of testing and treatment. Then they work in pairs to read scenarios about relationships in which one person has an STI, and answer questions about the responsibilities of each partner.

HIV/STI Lesson 9: Making Sexual Health Decisions

This lesson focuses on decision-making skills. Students learn decision-making steps and see them modeled for a decision around dating. They work in pairs to read a sample scenario and use the steps to recommend a healthy and safe decision. Then they consider situations that could affect their own sexual health and follow the decision- making steps to propose a decision that will help protect their sexual health.

HIV/STI Lesson 10: Resisting Sexual Pressure

This lesson introduces refusal skills. Students work in small groups to suggest lines they might hear if someone is pressuring them to have sex. After learning about effective words and actions for resisting sexual pressure, groups write responses to the pressure lines another group created. Students then work in pairs to practice resisting pressure to have sex using the refusals their groups created. They also practice what to say to show they respect another person’s refusal. They take home a family sheet to help them talk with their parents or another adult family member about responsible sexual behaviors.

HIV/STI Lesson 11: Roleplay Practice: Saying NO to Sexual Pressure

In this skills-based lesson, students practice refusal skills using roleplays. After watching a demonstration roleplay that uses effective refusal skills, students complete a half- scripted roleplay by writing responses to pressure lines. They practice their roleplays in pairs and receive feedback on their refusal skills.

HIV/STI Lesson 12: Using Condoms for Safer Sex

This lesson teaches about practicing safer sex by using latex or polyurethane condoms. Students learn how condoms help prevent pregnancy and STIs. They watch as the teacher demonstrates condom use, and then do an activity to review the correct sequence of steps for proper condom use. They discuss where in their community teens can get condoms and how to overcome potential embarrassment about obtaining and using condoms.

HIV/STI Lesson 13: Negotiating Condom Use

In this skills-based lesson, students learn strategies for planning ahead and negotiating condom use. After discussing steps in planning ahead, they work in pairs to help negotiate condom use with a partner. They review the steps for resisting sexual pressure and discuss how to apply these steps to refusing to have sex without a condom. Then they write responses that can be used to counter pressure to have unprotected sex.

VIP Lesson 16: Dealing with Unwanted Touch

This lesson helps students learn what to do if they are at risk of being sexually abused. After reviewing group agreements, students examine their feelings in response to different situations involving touch, then participate in an exercise that helps them identify personal boundaries. While reinforcing that unwanted touch is never the victim’s fault, the teacher reviews things students can do to protect themselves, then has students repeat the earlier exercise to practice assertive communication and experience what it is like to tell someone to stop invading their personal space. 

VIP Lesson 17: Understanding Sexual Abuse

This lesson helps students understand, recognize and seek help for sexual abuse. After reviewing group agreements to help ensure safe and respectful class discussion of this serious topic, they explore the definition of abuse. Then they work in small groups (or as a class) to read and respond to questions about scenarios in which young people are in danger of being sexually abused. They discuss why sexual abuse is never the fault of the person who has experienced abuse and why it is important for survivors of abuse to get help. They learn about resources they could turn to if they or a friend were being sexually abused, and then practice how to ask for help for themselves or a friend.

Supplemental Lesson: Pregnancy Options

This lesson examines the potential outcomes and options for a pregnancy. Students consider the thoughts and feelings a young person who is experiencing a pregnancy might have, then learn about pregnancy options through a mini-lecture that covers continuing the pregnancy to parenting, continuing the pregnancy and creating an adoption plan, continuing the pregnancy to safe surrender, and electively ending the pregnancy through abortion. They learn about the importance of prenatal care when a person decides to continue a pregnancy, and brainstorm healthy actions someone can take to help ensure a healthy pregnancy. Then they complete an activity sheet to summarize what they have learned