Interactive lessons for teaching about sexuality.

Imagine a sexuality education learning environment that allows individuals to review and reinforce knowledge, practice skills, and engage in interpersonal communication all while playing games!

Create a fun, learning-rich environment with GAME ON! The Ultimate Sexuality Education Gaming Guide. This teaching manual takes a holistic approach to sexuality education with game strategies to engage learners in topics such as anatomy, body image, communication, healthy relationships, puberty, contraception, safer sex, sexually transmitted infections, sexual health and more. Complete with simple step-by-step instructions to prepare and implement each game, teachers and students will have a blast!

By Eli R. Green, MA, MEd
Based on a popular party game, participants will examine and communicate their thoughts and perspectives on a wide variety of sexuality and related issues such as intimacy, dating, love and sexual behaviors.

In this card game, participants will identify and categorize aspects of healthy and unhealthy relationships.

By Alethea Thompson and Orlando Perez
In this mock reality show, participants will role-play a situation in order to examine healthy and unhealthy interpersonal behaviors, and discuss and develop ideas to resolve conflict.

With Bill Taverner
In this sketch game, participants will draw and discuss the physiological and interpersonal changes that occur during puberty.

In this card game designed for youth with special needs, participants will review aspects of privacy including places, behaviors and body parts.

By Lisa Schulze, MEd
In this kinesthetic trivia game, participants will analyze essential aspects of female sexual anatomy and pleasure.

By Martha S. Rosenthal, PhD
In this board game, participants will answer questions regarding the physiological aspects that impact fertilization.

In this adaptation of dominoes, participants will apply basic information about contraceptives such as the name, type and instructions for use.

By Martha S. Rosenthal, PhD
In this trivia game, participants will receive a series of clues in order to correctly determine the name of a contraceptive.

Based on a game show format, Sex Ed Trivia reviews basic information about hormonal methods, barrier methods, condoms and sexual health care.

The Sexual Health Literacy Competition
In this trivia game based on a popular game show, participants will review key facts about abstinence, contraception and wellness.

By Erica Rich
Based on the popular party game, participants will examine educational material about sexually transmitted infections, distinguish between STI myths and facts, and suggest sources to get medically accurate information.

In this version of the game bingo, participants will match terms to statements about sexually transmitted infections, risk behaviors and prevention techniques.

With Lizbeth Cruz
In this mock game show, participants will use their knowledge of HIV and AIDS to answer trivia questions that reflect professional guidelines for key HIV concepts for youth in grades K-6.

By Kamilah Crawley and Lizbeth Cruz
In this adaptation of a party game, participants will test their sexual health knowledge and practice decision-making.

In this mock game show, participants will be able to examine their attitudes, values and opinions as they relate to sexual health, sexual safety and the prevention of STIs.

In this game of words, participants will communicate various aspects of body image.

In this version of the movement game hot potato, participants will review some key facts about body image.

Making Smart Decisions about Sexual Health
By Ashley Generallo, Colleen Lord and Allyson Sandak
In this board game, participants will learn and review information about sexual health and practice navigating real-life situations.

In this section, participants will learn from crosswords and word finds addressing various sexuality topics including anatomy, communication, pregnancy and many more.

Foreword of Game On!

By Bill Taverner

It all started at a holiday party a few years ago. A couple of educators volunteered to bring a game of their creation, merging our passion for dynamic, interactive sexuality education with our love of having fun together. We had lots of laughs as we played the first incarnation of “Smarter than a Sixth Grader: When It Comes to HIV?” and we began to think about what other lessons we could create.

We drew up a plan to develop a sexuality education gaming manual, and our CEO, CFO and board promptly approved the use of endowment funds to support this endeavor. Two seasoned educators and trainers, Jessica Shields and Melissa Keyes DiGioia, volunteered to get started. A few months later, they presented their first professional development workshop titled “Sex Ed Games that Teach.” I have attended many sexuality education presentations during my career. Some have been interactive and team building; some have featured a great icebreaker or warm-up activity; some have been lectures or PowerPoint presentations that informed me, but bored me to tears. But I have seldom experienced such a merging of “fun” with “learning” as I did with this workshop.

I have to admit, I was expecting a showcase of sex and puberty-related crossword puzzles and word searches, but there was a whole lot more to that first workshop. The trainers had studied the pedagogy of gaming, and infused it into each of the activities they presented. They got the audience to think about the functions of gaming beyond the fun participants might have. The result was a collection of activities that were as pedagogically sound as they were entertaining.

The Center for Sex Education has long advocated the principles that “a positive approach to sex education is the best approach,” and that “participants learn as much or more from each other as from the educator.” Game On! embraces this ideology with learning experiences that are fun, energizing and dependent on participants communicating with each other.

In this guide, there are 19 great lessons and a section of ready-to-use word puzzles that touch on many different aspects of sexuality: anatomy, body image, contraception, puberty, relationships, sexually transmitted infections and more! Each lesson is thoughtfully constructed with a rationale, a learning objective, detailed procedural steps, handouts and the latest knowledge about sexual health. The games present an opportunity to engage participants’ competitive spirits while they have fun and, most important, learn.

So, are you ready for some great teaching strategies? Game On!

Introduction to Game On!

“Through play we learn to recognize patterns in the world around us and develop our own understanding as well as shared understanding with others.” Like other novices in sexuality education, we used games, but we were unaware of the potential of this medium as a teaching strategy. When we presented games, we recognized that audiences responded comfortably to the sexuality content. We also noticed that individuals were eager to participate and demonstrate the knowledge or skill they were retaining. We have come to understand that the underlying factor (or pattern) for all of these outcomes was the use of a game format.

Games are fun, engaging and social! We play games throughout the life cycle, and in doing so, accomplish different goals. For example, the long-time children’s game peek-a-boo helps young people practice reciprocal attention skills and make early connections. The traditional board games Scrabble and its electronic peer, Words with Friends, allow people of all ages to engage in word recall, recognition and socialization skills.

Our understanding of games as pedagogical techniques is broader now. Games are useful for educators and audiences alike. For educators, the format of a game can appeal to different learning styles. Games can be used as a means to motivate audience participation, determine gaps and confirm strengths in knowledge or skills, review and link concepts, and relate information to new situations. For participants, games allow them to practice self-regulation, social skills and decision-making, acquire and apply knowledge and skills, maintain attention, engage in logical thinking and problem solving, and collaborate with peers. In health education, using games increases participant confidence to apply new knowledge, which leads to improved health behaviors resulting in better health.

Game On! is a fun and interactive approach to holistic sexuality education. Rooted in pedagogy, this guide is a compilation of gaming approaches by sexuality educators to create a learning rich environment. Participants acquire knowledge, practice skills or examine attitudes and beliefs in order to achieve sexual health, all while playing games.

Ready to learn and play? Well, GAME ON!

Included in Game On!:

  • Games as a teaching strategy: 8 quick tips
  • Common Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Contraceptive Options Chart
  • Finding Help: A Resource List
  • How to Use Role-Play
  • Making Game Boards Electronic

“What a delightful and inventive set of approaches to teaching sensible sexual health! GAME ON! presents an amazing variety of creative techniques to reach learners of all ages.”
Stephen Conley, PhD

“As the name implies, Game On! The Ultimate Sexuality Education Gaming Guide is a wonderful comprehensive guide for educators who like to teach through games, but it is much more than that. If a sexuality educator never used one game this is still a great resource.  Among other points, it contains strong principles of sexuality education; creative and useful teaching tips; helpful teaching objectives; a strong overview of sexuality content; and, a healthy combination of sexuality knowledge, exploration of feelings, and consideration of various attitudes about sexuality. This is a MUST HAVE resource for anyone involved in sexuality education.”
Clint E. Bruess, PhD
Co-author, Sexuality Education: Theory and Practice

“I love the idea of a sexuality education manual using childhood games and other very timely methods like reality television shows. I strongly believe that this is a better way to education our youth and/or review information. These are creative strategies that definitely will meet the needs of the groups, teach skills, explore attitudes and assist in the acquisition of skills. Exactly what we are looking for as sexual health educators! The activity directions and instructions are clearly written and easily understandable.”
Monique Howard, EdD, MPH
Executive Director, WOAR

Game On! is a valuable resource for any educator looking to implement interactive approaches to teaching sexuality education. The activities in this manual incorporate important health messages into fun, engaging activities that are sure to captivate young audiences. Game On! would make a terrific addition to any collection of sexuality education resources.”
Leslie M. Kantor, MPH

“Sexuality educators at every level are constantly searching for activities to get students thinking and talking while they’re learning. This is the guide you can’t live without! Your students will love the interactive games! These interesting, engaging, and instructive interactive games are based on well-founded and carefully-researched pedagogical principles that will complement any comprehensive sexuality education setting from middle school to college and adult learners. The book is well organized, offering sound advice for using its activities with students and suggestions for making their impact as effective as possible. Game On! belongs in every sexuality educator’s arsenal of teaching techniques.”
Gary F. Kelly
Author, Sexuality Today

Game On! The Ultimate Sexuality Education Gaming Guide puts the fun into learning, and learning into the fun. Games for a variety of audiences, including one specifically designed for people who have intellectual disabilities, cover many sexual health topic areas and a host of enjoyable gaming genres. The volume’s foundation, firmly rooted in the pedagogy of gaming, as well as a section of resources that can be used to create new games, make this a unique and valuable reference.”
Lis Maurer, MS, CFLE, CSE
Director, The Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services, Ithaca College

Game On! is a sexuality educator’s dream come true. The guide inspires interactive, fun, education. It is easy to use, well researched, and empowering. Games teach. Educators need to reach students before they teach them, and these activities will open doors.”
Mary Jo Podgurski, EdD, MA, RNC
Author,Games Educators Play

“Game On! is a must for every sexuality educator! The games and activities are smart, thoughtful, enjoyable to play, and combine the best aspects of education and fun! The educator resources are invaluable! No matter what the topic, Game On! has a ready-to-play activity that will make any class an engaging and informative one.”
Al Vernacchio, MSEd
Chair of English/Sexuality Educator, Friends Central School

Game On! is a treat to read!! The variety of classroom games will allow students to have meaningful experiences in health education that they will remember instead of facts they will forget!! The games are ingenious, could be adapted for all ability levels, and do not require expenditure by teachers, which in this economy means a lot. Teachers will get a break from thinking about how to convey some of the slippery topics and abstract concepts to their students without preaching. Health educators will be grateful to have this fine piece of creative work.”
Leslie Walker-Hirsch, I. M. Ed. FAAIDD
Author, The Facts of Life and More

Download a sample lesson plan here.

Game On!

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