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Birth Defects

Main Core Tie

Child Development
Strand 3

Additional Core Ties

Adult Roles And Responsibilities
Strand 5 Standard 2

Time Frame

2 class periods of 90 minutes each




No two human beings have ever been exactly alike. Every human being is unique. This uniqueness is first established by the combination of the parents' genes


Information on birth defects from the March of Dimes (or internet access).

Background for Teachers

This lesson discusses problem pregnancies and birth defects. Students need to understand that not all problem pregnancies result in birth defects. This lesson is not meant to scare the students, just make them more knowledgeable about pregnancy and the things they can do to increase their chances of having a healthy baby.

Student Prior Knowledge

Students should be familiar with the reproductive system and fetal development.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to identify which birth defects are preventable and which ones are genetic/inherited. Students will identify the causes of prematurity in babies.

Instructional Procedures



  • Child Development Institute
    Information on child development issues -parenting, health, education, development, ect.
  • March of dimes
    The website for the March of Dimes. Contains information on birth defects.
  • Parents
    Information on the developing child and parenting.

Introduction: Attachment #1 - Birth Efects Discussion. After telling the story have the following discussion with students. "How many of you know someone who has had a problem pregnancy? Did she ever think anything like that could happen to her? No one plans on having a problem pregnancy, but everyone should know something about the potential problems in order to safeguard their health and the health of their fetus." Have a scale and compare something that is familiar to the students to a one-pound baby, a two-pound baby, three-pound baby, etc. (potato, margarine) Share basic information with students about birth defects (attachment #2 - lecture on birth defects). Assign students groups reports on birth defects. Give students time to prepare reports (1-2 days). Have students fill out Birth Defect student handout as students present their reports. OPTION: Invite a guest speaker from the March of Dimes to speak and present information dealing with birth defects and premature babies.

Assessment Plan


  • Relay.doc
    After studying pregnancy and problems related to pregnancy you can use this game for a review.

1. Students (in groups) will research information on a genetic birth defect to present to the class. Students will use the rubric for oral presentations to determine the level of achievement. 2. Students will prepare a pamphlet on preventable birth defects using the pamphlet review rubric for requirements.


Utah State Curriculum Guide, March of Dimes


Created: 04/15/2003
Updated: 03/31/2021