Course Description:
Body of Knowledge

In this class, students who are in their first semester at Satellite Academy will learn some of the essential skills they will need to be successful at our school: how to find a focus for the work of the day upon entering the classroom, how to concentrate on the spoken word, how to be respectful listeners and sharers, how to work together as a group, how to attend to the details of writing and revising, how to prepare work that is worthy of public presentation, and how to earn and maintain the confidence and trust of their classmates.

In their coursework, students will learn about their bodies as special and unique, worthy of care and respect. They will learn the skills necessary to make informed decisions with regard to present-day risks, such as drug and alcohol use, smoking, teen pregnancy, and HIV. Students will explore their bodies' systems, beginning with the female and male reproductive systems, then working through the other major physiological and biological systems. We will finish the semester with an experience of the body as a tool for creative expression. Through this work, students will gain knowledge necessary for building confidence, self-esteem, and tools for healthier living.

Course units:

Reproductive/Sexual Systems for Women and Men

• Labor and Birth
• Birth Control
• Safer Sex
• Violence Against Our Sexual Selves
• Gay/Lesbian Youth

Immune System
• STD's

Circulatory System
• Heart/Blood

Integumentary System
• Skin/Senses

Respiratory System
• Breath/Smoking

Digestive System
• Nourishment/Eating Disorders

Muscular System
• Movement/Flexibility/Rhythm

Skeletal System
• Strength/Movement

Whole Health


Teaching Strategies

Each day students will be involved in activities that strengthen their essential skills. In class we will follow a rhythm that the class will grow to expect. A typical day during our Labor/Birth unit :

• a reading of a poem or children�s book followed by a short discussion of how the reading relates to this unit. example: we will read the children�s book, On the Day You Were Born.

• a quick review of factual information the students have been learning. example: we will go over the questions that will appear on their unit quiz: what is the name for the top of the uterus?...what are two indications of the onset of labor?...what does meconium staining indicate?

• an exploration of the new work of the day. example: the students will prepare work from their journals for presentation in the school's hallways.

• a ten-minute reflective writing on a topic sentence related to the day's lesson will close each class. example: the students will write from the sentence, "Imagine you are in your mother's womb and you sense that it is time for you to be born...describe your own birth."

We will have experts from our New York City community join our class to present workshops related to the unit we are studying in class:

• Hetrick-Martin Institute will join us to lead two separate workshops; one on HIV/AIDS and one on Human Sexuality.

•Virginia Reath, P.A., will be with us once a week for four consecutive weeks to lead discussions on birth control, abortion and saver sex. For these special days, the class will be divided into young men's and your women's groups to facilitate discussion.

• The Center for Anti-Violence Education will share strategies for protecting ourselves from harm.

• Sondra Loring, an acclaimed dancer/choreographer will lead three workshops on breath and movement.

• Robin Rose Bennett, botanist, will join us at the end of the semester for a workshop on Whole Health.

We also will take two class field trips to community health centers for students to learn about possible resources for their own health care:

• The Door, an adolescent health center
• Elizabeth Seton Childbearing Center, a free-standing birth center

Instructional Materials Books

Our Bodies/Our Selves
• Changing Bodies, Changing Selves
• Mosby's Medical Dictionary

• many poetry anthologies and children's books
• Chelsea House series on the human body


• NOVA video series on pregnancy and birth, including "The Miracle of Life"
• "Home Birth in Holland"
• "Time Out: The Truth about HIV, AIDS, and You"
• "Teen AIDS in Focus" Instructional Aids
• human skeleton
• birth control devices
• fetus/uterus/umbilical cord model


Students will have ongoing opportunities to practice listening and sharing skills, to write and revise writings, to work in partners/small groups/large groups. They will become well-versed in correct scientific language for the body and its functions, familiar with the basics of body systems, knowledgeable about the body as microcosm and macrocosm. Students will leave this class with the information necessary to answer all body systems questions on the Science RCT and Regents Exam in Biology. They also will be prepared to contribute solid academic work for their Science Portfolio Presentations.


Students will be assessed on their progress in three areas:

• quality of effort in daily journal writings
• completion and quality of class projects
• quizzes

• attendance and punctuality
• preparedness for class
• timely completion of assignments

• attentive listening
• thoughtful and respectful contributions to class discussions
• respectful attention to outside guests