While on-board a high-speed rollercoaster, Professor Robert Winston explains the dramatic changes that take place in our body during puberty. He discusses the role of the sex hormones and the physical changes that occur, including growth of pubic hair and bones, and production of sperm and eggs.
The concept of puberty can be used to lead into more detailed study of hormones and hormonal control. Ask the class to list different hormones that they know of and what they do. Explore the concept of hormones as chemical messengers and ask the class to pick a hormone and draw a flow diagram to explain where it comes from, how it travels, where it goes to and what the result is. What other signs of puberty can the students think of? They could conduct research into the hormones responsible for puberty. They could draw two diagrams: one of a pre-pubescent person, and one of an adolescent, and compare what is going on inside their bodies, perhaps as a 'before' and 'after', or before, during and after. Compare growth and development in humans with other organisms and ask students to suggest why different species reach sexual maturity after different time periods.