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Learning Activities

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Conducting a U.S. Teen Pregnancy Survey

Purpose:

To raise the awareness of teens, parents, teachers and administrators of the extent of teen pregnancy in the United States (US) and to challenge high school-aged students to contrast the reality of teen pregnancy facts with adult and peer perceptions.

Preparation:

  1. Gain administrative and parental approval for the activity as necessary.
  2. Add local or state teen pregnancy facts to the survey. (Optional)
  3. Reproduce copies of U.S. Teen Pregnancy Survey for students (Handout).
Note: Links on this page with the Portable Document Format icon require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print them. You can download this free software at:
http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html.

Procedure:

  1. Overview. Let students know they will be taking and conducting a survey about teen pregnancy. Pass out the U.S. Teen Pregnancy Survey to students. Go over the survey questions with them and check their understanding of the questions. Explain that they will be conducting the survey with at least eight teens, two teachers, one administrator, and two parents or family members.
  2. Adding to the Survey. Give students the option of writing in one or two additional questions to their surveys. This can be done individually, or by consensus as a group. The leader may have to assist students in finding the answers to newly generated questions.

  3. Taking the Survey. Using the Handout, have students take the survey and document their answers in the surveyor column, column 1. Next, have students predict the most common answers they expect to hear from their fellow teens and document them in the teen prediction column (column 2). Have students predict the most common answers they expect to hear from the adults and document them in the adult prediction column (column 11).

  4. Conducting the Survey. Give students a time frame in which to complete the surveys and directions on when and where it is appropriate to survey others. Have students focus on conducting the survey with people who have not already taken it. Students are now ready to conduct the survey.

  5. Debriefing the Survey Responses. After students finish conducting the surveys, facilitate a discussion with them regarding the answers to survey questions and their experiences conducting the survey. Begin the discussion by asking questions like:
    • How was it for you conducting the surveys?

    • Were the survey answers all similar or did they vary a lot?

    • Who thought there was more teen pregnancy, the teens or the adults? Why do you think that is?

Next, give students the answers to the survey questions as presented on Answers to the U.S. Pregnancy Survey. (see below) Continue the discussion by asking questions like:

  • Did any of the answers surprise you? Which ones and why?

  • How close was your prediction of teen responses? How did it differ from the actual teen answers?

  • How close was your prediction of adult responses? How did it differ from the actual adult responses?

  • What is the most important thing you learned from this activity?
  1. Viewing the Survey Results.As an optional step to the activity students can create a graph, or visual, of the class's survey results and post the graph and the correct answers to the survey questions in a prominent location. This will allow fellow students, teachers, administrators and parents to view the survey results.

 
Answers to the
U.S. Teen Pregnancy Survey

  1. What percent of teen girls get pregnant?
    Answer. At least 40% of all girls get pregnant before they turn 20 years old. 1

  2. What percent of teen pregnancies are unintended?
    Answer. Eighty-five percent (85%) of teen pregnancies are unintended.2

  3. If sexually active teenagers don't use contraception (birth control pills, condoms, etc.) what chance of pregnancy do they risk within one year's time?
    Answer. Ninety percent (90%) 3


References

1Whatever Happened to Childhood? The Problem of Teen Pregnancy in the United States. National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 1997.

2 Sex and America's Teenagers. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1994.

3 Facts in Brief. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, May 1998.

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