Years 7-10 students

Puberty: Let’s Talk About it with the Experts

Thursday, 13th March. 10:30 am – 11:30 am

As a human you are going to spend a life time growing and changing. Change is something that happens all the time. It all started at the time of fertilisation, or conception, about nine months before you were born.

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But that was just the start. Humans continue to grow and develop from baby to infant, child, teenager and eventually adult. The biggest changes that happen as we grow up are during PUBERTY, when we gradually change (it doesn’t happen overnight) from a child into an adult. Once we reach adulthood, we stop growing, but our bodies continue to change as we grow older. Changing from a child into an adult for a human takes several years.

These changes do not start at the same time for all of us. Some of us start PUBERTY earlier than others; girls for example, generally start pubertal changes a couple of years before boys do.

When these changes happen depends on many factors, including:

  • our genes that we inherit from our parents,
  • our environment (surroundings),
  • how we live our lives,
  • our parents environment,
  • how our parents lived their lives before and during mum’s pregnancy.

What Scientists have found

Because the changes associated with puberty occur over several years, it is difficult to say exactly when puberty starts. Scientists use the date when a girl has her first period (menarche) as a marker that puberty is underway. The average age of a girl in New Zealand to have her first period is 12.4 years. Scientific data from around the world shows that puberty is starting earlier now than it was 100 years ago.

  • Why is this happening?
  • Why are young people entering puberty earlier?

The way we live our lives has changed greatly over the past 150 years. What changes have occurred in our environment during this time? Could changes to our environment be one reason why puberty is starting earlier?

But it is not all about physical change. Puberty involves physical, social and emotional changes.

One of the big changes faced by young people around the time of puberty is changing schools. So at the same time that you are coping with changes in your bodies, you are also coping with changes to your environment – such as starting at a new school. Different people manage and cope with these changes in different ways. How have you coped with these changes?

Years 7-10 Blog BLAST Topic: Puberty – Let’s Talk About it with the Experts

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  • Moving from childhood to adolescence involves lots of change. You have changed physically and emotionally. Your intellectual and social development has rocketed forward. And to top it all off, many of you keep having to change schools!
  • Develop a blog post exploring the challenges of changing schools. Your Blog BLAST should be about 300 words if you are in Years 7-8 and can be up to 500 words if you are in Years 9-10.
    • How did you cope going to a new school with different people, different places and different ways of doing things?
    • What advice would you give to young people about to enter a period of change in their lives?
    • Click on the icon to enter the Years 7-10 Blog BLAST competition

LiveChat

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  • Communicating your ideas and opinions about science with other people is an important part of learning science. The Lord Winston TALKFEST is an opportunity to have discussions about Puberty with other students. Students across New Zealand and the Cook Islands can view the Lord Winston TALKFEST online and participate in a LiveChat discussion with each other.
  • Each LiveChat participant will need to be registered to take part.
  • Click on the icon to register for LiveChat
  • On the day, find the LiveChat site here>>

Studio Audience

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