Lesson Plan Industry Sector
Agriculture & Natural Resources

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: Amanda Samons

Fertilization and Pregnancy

Part of Unit: Animal Reproduction and the Function of Reproductive Organs

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

Class begins by asking student how fertilization takes place (usually not many are able to answer this question) Students are divided into groups of 3 and given a fertilization kit. In this kit is a gum ball, 1 skittle, 1 gummy worm, 1 piece of licorice, and 1 doughnut. Each item represents a part of the fertilization process. The teacher circulates the room as they explain how fertilization occurs shows students how to utilize their kit to demonstrate this process. Information is presented on the fertilization process and students take notes, followed by a brief discussion of gestation periods (review from a previous lesson). As a review and students create a graphic organizer from their notes that contains details about the fertilization process. Additionally there is a short assessment piece for students to complete.

Lesson Time

1 class period
50 Minutes

Objectives and Goals

  • Describe the process of reproduction and development including fertilization.
  • Describe gestation periods for several animals and describe management issues associated with pregnancy in animals
  • Define livestock parturition and describe dystocia

Activities in this Lesson

  • Begin class by asking students if they know how fertilization takes place.  Not many will be able to answer this.

    Explain that is what you are going to show them through a short activity. 

    Divide the class into groups of three  and direct one person from each group to get the fertilization kit.


    Now explain to the students what each item in the kit represents (make a list on the board)

    Gumball - ovary


    gummy worm - sperm

    licorice - fallopian tube

    doughnut - uterus


    Instruct students to set the ovary to the left side.  Place the licorice facing diagonally down towards the right.  Place the doughnut on the other end of the licourice.  This is the reproductive tract. 

    Review what part each piece of candy represents in the reproductive tract.

    Now that you have your parts down, you need to fertilize the egg. 

    Place the egg up by the ovary.  Place the sperm down by the uterus.  The ovary needs to release the egg and have it float down.  The sperm will need to swim through the uterus and up the fallopian tube.  The sperm and egg will unite in the fallopian tube and both need to float down to teh uterus and attach themselves to the inside of the uterus for further development of the embryo and later fetus. 

    You may have to repeat the process a few times for students to grasp the concept.

  • Now we are going to explore the technical process of fertilization.  Show and review Slide 2, which contains this information.

    1. Stages of Prenatal Development
    2. Fertilization – When the sperm and egg unite.  When fertilization occurs, cell division occurs.  It starts with 2, 4, 6, and 8 and so on.
    3. Attachment – The embryo that has gone through much cell division attaches itself to the uterus for further development.
    4. Embryonic Stage – The period when body parts and organs start to form.  The length of time differs between species
    5. Fetal Period – Period that lasts until birth is mainly a time when body parts and organs mature.


    When I say go, divide into pairs and discuss the difference between the embryonic stage and the fetal period.  Be ready to share your answers in 1 minute.  Go.  Ask for two or three groups to share.  Students should point out that the embryonic Stage is a short time when organs start to form.  The fetal period lasts from that point until parturition.

    Show and review slide 3-4, which contains this information.


    1. Gestation and Gestation Periods for Different Species
    2. Gestation – Length of Pregnancy
    3. Gestation time:

                Human:  253-303 Days

                Cow:  285 Days

                Ewe:  147 Days

                Mare:  336 Days

                Sow:  114 Days

    1. The fetus develops in uterus, most of growth is in the last 1/3 of


    1. Umbilical cord connects the navel to the placenta, where food, oxygen

    and wastes are exchanged.


    Now that we know what fertilization and gestation are, what do you guys think we are going to go over next?

    Show and Review slide 5.


    1. Parturition and Problems with Parturition
    2. Parturition – Signals the end of gestation.  The process is started by the release of cortisol.  This release causes progesterone levels to decline and estrogen, prostaglandin, and oxytocin to increase.  All these hormonal changes cause relaxation of the cervix and contractions to occur.  These events allow for the fetus to be born outside the body.
    3. Abnormal positions (Dystocia) – Piglets don’t assume any particular position during birth and it doesn’t seem to affect the ease of birth.  However calves, lambs and foals may present themselves in abnormal positions.  The next slide shows normal and abnormal positions.  Show slide 6.


    Have discussions over each position presented and exactly why each is difficult.  Also discuss how poultry birth is completely different in that the egg is expelled outside the animal and then the chick is born outside the body.


    Starting with slide 8, the birth of twins is documented in pictures with brief descriptions.  This is a good way to tie in some of the terminology and ideas that have been taught today.  The slide show is slides 8-19

    Resources and Materials

    • Fertilization and Pregnancy Slide Show [ Download ] Slide show to accompany direct instruction
  • At the end of the day, ask for student volunteers to quickly explain how fertilization occurs.  Challenge students to use all of the appropriate terms (rather then slang terms).

Assessment - Cartographer Moment

Assessment Types:
Student Work

The Cartographer moment is used to asses this lesson.

Show students how to create a web of information.  Have them draw three circles representing  fertilization, gestation, and parturition.  Then have them branch out the details about each.  Instruct students to capture all of the details in order to study for the assessment.  After giving students a few mintues to work, ask a few to share theirs on the board.