I’m old enough to remember not being taught anything about how babies are born in high school. We had dolls given to us to carry around all day to remind us that being a mom is “all about responsibility.” But seriously? As a mom now, that exercise was incredibly ill-conceived. Let’s bring science back to the classroom when we talk about reproduction and childbirth—which is exactly what one teacher is doing with her innovative strategies that have gone viral on TikTok.
Brooke Bernal is in her fourth year of teaching family consumer sciences to high school students. As part of the unit, Brooke’s students get a very comprehensive explanation of everything that happens during childbirth. To demonstrate exactly what happens, Brooke does a fun demonstration with a balloon and a ping pong ball:
Brooke spoke with BuzzFeed and explained that she got the idea from a Facebook page for family consumer science teachers. “A teacher posted a video of her doing it with her class, and I loved it,” she said. “I have no idea who the original creator is, but shoutout to them for being so creative.”Brooke posted her lesson on TikTok, where it went viral with almost 5 million views.
In the video, the ping pong ball represents the baby, and the balloon represents the uterus, birth canal, and cervix. First, you need to put the ping pong ball inside the balloon. Then, blow up the balloon and move the ping pong ball down into the “birth canal” part of the balloon. During contraction, the “baby” moves closer to the cervix. The cervix then dilates enough for the baby to come on out.
“Normally, this demonstration does not faze my students at all. They are really just surprised that a ping pong ball can fit into a balloon and that a balloon can stretch like it does without popping,” Brooke said.
“I have never had a balloon pop, aka uterine rupture. Sometimes, the balloons may get stuck or rip a small hole, making the ping pong ball harder to get out or stuck. I just tell the students that this shows you can’t plan labor and delivery. You may have to have forceps, vacuum extraction, you may tear or end up with an episiotomy, or an emergency C-section. There are a multitude of things that can happen because childbirth is so unpredictable. This activity gives them a demonstration of that.”
“If I can provide basic knowledge to my students now, I am providing them with the tools and knowledge to feel comfortable and confident if they do get pregnant one day. I am also teaching them to be great support systems for someone who is having a baby,” Brook said.
“Also, with technology, kids receive so much misinformation. I am often blown away by how much misinformation my students tell me. So, teaching this class gives me the opportunity to help them learn what is correct and it gives them a safe place to openly discuss any questions they might have. My classroom is a judgment-free zone and all questions are welcome.”
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