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Students discussing public health research

June 5, 2019

Public Health: High School Journalists Report on Sex Education


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Students Reporting on Public Health and Sex Ed Summary:

Two videos from PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs series on “Health Innovators” show how members of the public tackle health initiatives in their communities. Watch the videos and answer the discussion questions below. You may want to turn on the “CC” (closed-captions) function.

High school students in San Antonio, Texas (see video above), are battling one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. One San Antonio high schooler says she does not feel that she has been given an adequate science-based sex education, a major contributing factor in teen pregnancy. Another student said her sister’s pregnancy at the age of 15 caused a big rift in her family since the topic of sex education is not one that more traditional families discuss. However, members of the Youth Advocacy Council (YAC)  in San Antonio deal with these issues head-on by educating students and parents on healthy sexual activity and sending a positive message on sex education.

Jacksonville County, Wisconsin, has also taken an innovative approach to public health. The county ranks 61st out of 72 in state health rankings. “Jackson in Action” is looking to change that. The organization promotes preventative strategies, such as nutrition and fitness. The coalition strives to teach young children and teens responsibility, self advocacy and goal setting.

Public Health Discussion questions:

1. Essential question: What are the benefits of community-lead health initiatives?

2. Do you think it’s important for students to play a role in these initiatives? Explain.

3. How does the quality of sex education play a role in teen pregnancy rates?

4. What areas of health does Jackson in Action focus on? What health initiatives do you think should be part of your community? What would it take to make such an initiative happen (think about all the different individuals you heard from in both stories)?

5. Media literacy: PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL) produced both of the videos. You can learn more about SRL here. What additional questions do you have after watching the films?

Discussing sex education and public health with students.

Public Health Extension activity:

Directions: Ask students to watch three additional videos of their choosing from the “Health Innovators” series here

1. What health innovations are featured in each video?

2. What do the stories have in common?

3. What choices did the individuals in the videos make? Do you agree with them? Explain.

4. How could the health innovators further develop their idea?

Visit PBS NewsHour Extra for more education resources designed to help teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories. You can read the original story here@NewsHourExtra

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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