Age Appropriate HIV/AIDS Lesson Plan for Middle Schoolers
Sex education can be a difficult subject to teach, so finding the right lesson to use can be a challenge. With middle school students, it is important to give them age-appropriate information about sexually transmitted diseases and how they can protect themselves. When deciding how to cover sex education, take into consideration the age of your class. If you have an older class, you can go into more detail. When talking about sexually transmitted diseases, do not use scare tactics. This HIV/AIDS lesson plan for middle school classes goes over progression, symptoms and prevention of HIV/AIDS. If you need to include other information about HIV/AIDS or need different activities, the SexEd Library provides different HIV/AIDS lesson plans.
Since talking about HIV/AIDS can be difficult, start with a warm-up activity. This activity introduces students to sexually transmitted diseases, how they can be spread, and how they can protect themselves. For this activity, get a plastic cup, a note card and pencil for each student. Buy a bag a small candies that come in multiple colors, such as Skittles, though check first for any allergies. Assign a color of candy to each condition: (1) condom, (2) HIV, and (3) no STD. Fill each cup up with one color of candy. After giving each student a cup and a card, explain that they should get signatures and then drop some candy into the other person's cup. Allow them five minutes to do this activity. Once they are done, sit the class down and explain the different colors of the candy. Go over with the class that without protection, HIV can spread from person to person through intercourse.
Progression and Symptoms
Once the class has been introduced to HIV, start going over the different symptoms and progression of HIV. Explain to students that HIV progresses into AIDS about 10 years later if treatment is not sought (MayoClinic.com). Point out that some patients can have symptoms, while others may be symptom-free for years. You can present this information as a handout or on the board. To help students visualize the progression of HIV into AIDS, make a time line that lists the symptoms.
A big part of the HIV/AIDS lesson plan for middle school students is prevention. Explain that no cure exists for HIV/AIDS. Point out that the only 100 percent way to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS is not having sex. Explain that they can take measures to protect themselves, such as using condoms and talking about HIV with their partners. Refer back to the warm-up activity and how using the condom candy protected against HIV.
Once you are done with the lesson, take time to wrap-up with the class. Have the class sit in a circle and discuss what the lesson was about. Does anyone have any questions? Is anyone confused or scared about the material? Make sure to take time to answer any questions that students might have. You may want to create a question box and allow students to drop in any anonymous questions they have. You can do the question box before class ends or answer the questions next time that the class meets.
MayoClinic.com: HIV/AIDS: Symptoms
MayoClinic.com: HIV/AIDS: Prevention
SexEd Library: HIV and AIDS