Menstruation products

Time to complete Menstruation products: 50 minutes

Year level: 7

Description

Students develop an understanding of the products used during menstruation.

Learning focus

  • Build on existing knowledge of reproductive systems and investigate menstrual products. 

Key understandings

  • The changes associated with puberty happen to different people at different times.
  • There are different menstrual products available to buy.

Materials

  • 2 vials of coloured water mixed with corn starch, 2 plastic plates, a choice of two from the following: pads, tampons, menstrual cups or menstrual underwear (pair work)
  • Teaching Resource: Comparing menstrual products (pair work)
  • Teaching Resource: Menstrual cycle
  • Student Activity Sheet: Menstruation myths and facts [one per student]

General capabilities

No General Capabilities values have been selected.

Health and physical education(P)

Personal, social and community health

This strand will develop students' knowledge, understanding and skills to support a positive sense of self, to effectively respond to life events and transitions and to engage in their learning. Effective communication, decision-making and goal-setting skills are integral to this strand as they help to establish and maintain relationships in family, school, peer group and community settings, support healthy and safer behaviours, and enable advocacy. Students will source and examine a range of health information, products, services and policies, and evaluate their impact on individual and community health and safety.

Relationships and sexuality

Blooms revised taxonomy

No Blooms values have been selected.

Inquiry learning phase

No Inquiry Learning phase values have been selected.

Related items

Teaching resource (download) Guides

Before you get started

  • The topic of puberty may be an exciting and interesting topic for some. Be mindful that some students may feel embarrassed, uncomfortable or worried learning how their bodies are going to be changing. Increase the comfort of students through introducing this topic with excitement and fun.
  • Students may have questions that they feel uncomfortable to ask. Providing a question box for students to place their questions in anonymously will ensure their questions are answered in a safe environment.
  • The WA Department of Health has developed a free resource for parents: Talk Soon. Talk Often. A Guide for Parents Talking to their Kids About Sex. This is also available via https://tsto.gdhr.wa.gov.au/home. It is recommended that teachers communicate to parents and explain the topics that will be covered such as healthy relationships, puberty, hygiene, emotions and resilience as well as the practicalities of body changes during puberty.
  • Provide students with a copy of the booklet Puberty (containing information on puberty for all genders) and Relationships, Sex and Other Stuff to take home and read.
  • If you are using an educational video, students can often be distracted if the videos are obviously out of date, as evidenced by the clothes, hairstyles and quality of the video, although this could be used to add humour to the experience. Ensure that any multimedia used is current, relevant, appropriate and sufficient time is allocated for a discussion afterwards. There is a video attached to this lesson as an example.
  • Some teachers ask the question of whether or not they should separate students according to gender. If you do choose to separate students, ensure that all groups receive the same information. It is just as important for students to learn about their own changing bodies as it is for them to learn what puberty is like for others in order to promote understanding.
  • Refer to the Guide: Menstrual cycle for further content information related to this activity.

Learning activities

Whole Class

Providing students with information about menstruation allows them the opportunity to be prepared physically and emotionally. It also allows young people to make informed choices regarding personal menstrual products and the purpose for them.

  1. Show the students the different menstrual products (tampons, pads, menstrual cups and period underwear). Give students the opportunity to unwrap and pick up the different items.  Group students in pairs and use the teaching strategy think-pair-share to identify the purpose of these products.
  2. Discuss the concept of menstruation using the Teaching Resource: Menstrual cycle.
    • Discuss why everybody should know about menstruation. Why will understanding menstruation be useful?
  1. Provide each student with a copy of the Student Activity Sheet: Menstruation myths and facts.
    • Ask students to complete it independently at first, then on completion ask them to compare their thoughts within a pair or small group.
    • Discuss final responses as a whole class and clarify any misconceptions.
  2. Give the students an opportunity to ask any questions and place them anonymously in the question box. Review the questions to determine the content of future activities in this area, or to use as part of a visit to the classroom by a school nurse or other health expert.

 

Independent or Small Group

Paired work

Many students of this age have not had the opportunity to open and explore menstruation products. This activity allows them this opportunity in a safe environment. Students will be working together in pairs to develop a practical understanding of menstruation hygiene products.

Ask each pair of students to choose two menstrual products to compare. They will be looking at how each product functions, how the product is used and how one compares to the other.

Before starting, explain that they will be using coloured water with corn starch mixed in. This is to show where and how the blood is absorbed into the product and this will depend on the viscosity of the blood. Between 5 and 80ml of blood flow is normal for the entirety of each menstrual cycle so the amount of water in their vials is roughly the amount before an individual product might need to be changed (about 5mls).

  1. Provide each pair with;

- coloured water mixed with corn starch (roughly around 4 times the viscosity of water) in 2 measuring vials of up to 5 mls in each vial

- plates or something to place the product in

- two menstrual products of their choice (tampons, pads, menstrual cups or menstrual underwear)

- An experiment handout

  1. Observe, play and experiment with their chosen products in pairs. Use the Student Activity Sheet: Comparing Menstrual Products
  2. Give students the opportunity to reflect on their experiments and write down their findings.
  3. Students could either debrief with another pair or in a larger group. Ask them to share their findings and understandings.

Reflection

  1. When all the groups have finished their discussions, ask students to share their observations in a class discussion:
    • Why are tampons and pads wrapped?
    • How do you use tampons or menstrual cups?
    • How do you use pads?
    • What are some advantages of each product?
    • What hygiene measures should be taken when menstruating?
    • Who would you talk to, to find out more about menstruation?
  1. What have you learnt today about menstruation and the products that can be used? Have students share ideas with a partner.
  2. Answer any questions students have.

External related resources

Period Hygiene: Tampons, Pads and Menstrual Cups - YouTube

An examination of three menstrual products (pads, tampons and menstrual cups).