Just Once is all it Takes

22 Feb

Welcome Grade 7s to Condom Day!! was what the board read this morning as 7C clamored into my room.  I am so glad I waited to do this today instead of rushing it yesterday.

On Monday, the bells were not working.  Since Namibian learners are already late on a consistent basis– be it the cultural time difference, other teachers holding them up, or a random fight breaking lose– the bell schedule did not surprise me in the least.  Although I ended up having about 15 minutes with each class because of this mishap, it ended up being for the best.  I have all three 7s back to back on Tuesdays which helped tremendously, since Condom Day takes a LOT of set up!

Because I had planned a condom discussion yesterday anyway, I had the kids write questions they had about condoms.  They surprised me and came up with a TON.  Since I won’t have time to go over every question (35 minute periods are so difficult to work with), I made them a poster for reference.  I also did a fun demo where I blew a condom up and had a student rub vaseline on it, which by the way, makes the condom explode.  It’s exciting, hilarious, and informative…plus the kids loved it.

It was actually so fun to make this poster as well as vocabulary cards to decorate one corner of the room with nothing but condom information.  They had so many good questions!

I set up four stations.  Here, at Station One, the theme was “shopping for condoms.”  At this table, a group would be able to examine a large variety of products to see the differences.  They were also given the opportunity to touch, smell, and see the difference between a latex condom and a polyurethane condom (animal membrane).  We even had a femidom (female condom) available for observation (first time I’ve seen one, but they’re a big thing here).

The purpose behind this station was to teach learners that there is no excuse.  No one can lie to you and say they can’t wear a condom because of size or allergy or what have you.  There are so many kinds out there, there’s really one (or two or three or a hundred) for each person.

At Station Two, learners would have fun stuffing condoms full of apples to see how many they could fit before it broke.  Then they had to record their findings.  Did the ultra thin last as long as the ribbed?  Could they figure out a way to get all six apples inside ONE condom? It was a challenge and it actually involved a lot of strategy I was impressed to find the learners had.

The purpose behind this one was to demonstrate just how strong a condom could be if used properly.  Manhandling would certainly lead to a massive tear.

At Station Three, learners could stretch condoms as much as they wanted to see how much it would take before ripping.  Yes, there were a few incident where condoms flew across the room at a deadly speed, but no one was injured and the kids saw just how tough they were.

Lastly, we had the Condom Communication Station, where learners were to use their role-playing skills to practice responses to condom nay-sayers.  In a situation where someone may try to persuade them to not use a condom “just this once,” I wanted my learners to have some skills to suggest why condoms would be beneficial.  These grade 7s have already done a role-playing activity, so they were eager to show off their acting skills again, especially while I was video taping.

Below are some photos of the day’s work:

7B managed to stuff three apples into one condom


An engaged learner finding the condom’s expiration date


Intense condom stretching…ended in disaster, let me tell you…


Condom balloons (although I didn’t recommend this, I didn’t stop them either)


An AWESOME teachable moment about defective condoms!


One of the many strategies used to stuff more fruit into the condom.


Blurry, but their laughter and looks of triumph shine through regardless :]


One proud stuffer


Nikanor demonstrates the Femidom


Some of my fabulous learners after a long, exciting day :]


I was more than prepared for this lesson only because I have been dreaming of doing it since I found out what I would be teaching.  We did a similar day when I took human sexuality and I felt like I got so much out of it.  I remember wishing I’d been taught all that content when I’d been in high school.  In particular, I feel like a lot of the HIV and STD problems that occur could be reduced if people simply knew how to properly use condoms, or better, felt like they could ask about them.

I, in no way, expect my learners to need this information at this point in their lives.  However, it built a nice foundation for their learning next year when they move to secondary school.  My teacher loved the lesson and kept my materials for it so she can do it next semester.  I’ll find out how much they actually retained tomorrow, when we do the debrief and reflection activity.

I’ll never have a chance to do this in the States.  I am so glad I took that chance here!


Love you all and remember to wrap it before you tap it,


One Response to “Just Once is all it Takes”

  1. Erika February 22, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    Wrap it before you tap it hahahahahaha I’ve never heard that one before!

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