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The Reproductive Cycle

In this worksheet, students will have a chance to check over their understanding of the human reproductive cycle, including the changes to the uterine wall, release of eggs and the timescale over which these changes happen and their implications for starting a family.

'The Reproductive Cycle' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Biology: Structure and Function of Living Organisms

Curriculum subtopic:   Reproduction

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

 In order for a baby to develop, a sperm has to fertilise an egg. For that to happen, an egg has to be waiting in the reproductive system.

 

So how does that happen? What controls when the egg is released and where it ends up? What happens if the egg is fertilised? What happens if it isn't?

 

We will explore questions like these in this activity.

 

Here's some basic information to help you remember your work on the MENSTRUAL CYCLE:

 

Once she has passed puberty, a woman starts to release eggs from her ovaries - one every month.  This is controlled by chemicals called hormones which control the whole menstrual cycle.  That includes the preparation of the wall of the uterus for the possible arrival and development of an embryo.  Think of it rather like a bed - the sheets and duvet cover need changing about every month and, in the same way, the lining of the uterus needs to be removed (a 'period' or menstruation) and a new one prepared.  The hormones determine at what point in the monthly cycle each stage occurs: breakdown of the existing wall, preparation of the new one, release of the egg (ovulation) - that sort of thing.

 

Menstrual cycle

 

This rather complicated diagram shows a calendar of days along the bottom and what's happening in the ovaries (top row) and to the uterine wall (middle row).  Don't worry too much about all the complicated words - it's the basic idea that's important to take on board.  If the egg is fertilised, the menstrual cycle is switched off as the lining of the uterus is needed for the enbryo and placenta to develop there.  If the egg isn't fertilised (which is the most common situation), the egg and the lining of the uterus pass out of the body during the 'period' (menstruation).

 

So, let's put all that information and your previous learning to good use and check out some questions on the woman's reproductive cycle.

What is the proper name for the 'reproductive cycle' in which an egg is released and the lining of the uterus is prepared for the possible arrival of a fertilised egg?

water cycle

birth cycle

menstrual cycle

What is the name given to the release of an egg in this cycle?

egg-laying

ovulation

gestation

Approximately how long is this reproductive cycle in a woman, during which an egg is released and the uterine wall thickens ready for the development of a baby?

14 days

1 month

9 months

Here is what looks like a rather complicated diagram of that cycle!

 

The top part shows how the egg develops and the main part in the middle shows the changes that happen to the wall of the uterus as the cycle progresses. At the bottom is a calendar marked in days.

Look carefully at the chart and use it to decide on which day, approximately, the egg is released.

day 7

day 14

day 28

What is the name of the reproductive organ from which eggs are released?

ovary

ovum

uterus

Here is the reproductive cycle chart again:

 

 

Look at it carefully and decide what is happening to the wall of the uterus between days 7-21.

it stays the same

it is getting thicker

it is breaking up

What is the name given to the chemicals that are released into the blood and control the changes in the wall of the uterus and when the egg is released?

toxins

antibodies

hormones

Matthew and Emma are planning to have a baby. Emma has been watching her reproductive cycle carefully - here is the diagram again:

If Emma released an egg on April 4th, on which days would there be a good chance of it being fertilised if they had sex then? Use the chart to work out your answer.

April 2nd - 7th

April 15th-21st

May 4th-10th

If Emma's egg is not fertilised what will happen around day 28 on her cycle?

she will become pregnant

she will start her period

she will release another egg

If Emma's egg was fertilised, when can she expect to release another egg?

next month

after 28 days

after the baby is born

  • Question 1

What is the proper name for the 'reproductive cycle' in which an egg is released and the lining of the uterus is prepared for the possible arrival of a fertilised egg?

CORRECT ANSWER
menstrual cycle
EDDIE SAYS
The monthly cycle of 'period' (bleeding), release of an egg and the changes to the uterus wall, leading to another 'period' is the menstrual cycle. The proper name for the 'period' of bleeding is menstruation.
  • Question 2

What is the name given to the release of an egg in this cycle?

CORRECT ANSWER
ovulation
EDDIE SAYS
The egg is an OVUM, so ovulation is the name given to the release of an ovum. Gestation, by the way, is the proper name for pregnancy.
  • Question 3

Approximately how long is this reproductive cycle in a woman, during which an egg is released and the uterine wall thickens ready for the development of a baby?

CORRECT ANSWER
1 month
EDDIE SAYS
The whole cycle generally takes about 28 days (= 1 month). Over this time the woman has a 'period' of bleeding after which an egg is released. The wall of the uterus thickens and, if the egg is not fertilised, it breaks down again and the next 'period' starts the next month's cycle.
  • Question 4

Here is what looks like a rather complicated diagram of that cycle!

 

The top part shows how the egg develops and the main part in the middle shows the changes that happen to the wall of the uterus as the cycle progresses. At the bottom is a calendar marked in days.

Look carefully at the chart and use it to decide on which day, approximately, the egg is released.

CORRECT ANSWER
day 14
EDDIE SAYS
Ovulation occurs in the middle of the cycle, generally around day 14. The ovary releases an egg into the oviduct where it waits to be fertilised (which will happen only rarely).
  • Question 5

What is the name of the reproductive organ from which eggs are released?

CORRECT ANSWER
ovary
EDDIE SAYS
A woman has two ovaries which alternately release an egg each month (well, that\'s generally how it works out!). The egg is an ovum and if it is fertilised it will develop into a baby in the uterus.
  • Question 6

Here is the reproductive cycle chart again:

 

 

Look at it carefully and decide what is happening to the wall of the uterus between days 7-21.

CORRECT ANSWER
it is getting thicker
EDDIE SAYS
During this time, before and after ovulation, the wall of the uterus thickens. What's happening is that it forms extra ridges and gets a bigger blood supply just in case a fertilised egg should arrive there - the egg will need that special lining to begin its development towards becoming a baby.
  • Question 7

What is the name given to the chemicals that are released into the blood and control the changes in the wall of the uterus and when the egg is released?

CORRECT ANSWER
hormones
EDDIE SAYS
Lots of different hormones are released into our bloodstream every day - they are enormously important in controlling what happens inside our body, keeping it working normally. For example, growth hormone controls the rate at which different parts of you grow as you journey towards adulthood. Two particular hormones are in charge of the menstrual cycle. By the way, toxins are poisonous chemicals and antibodies are formed in our blood when we have a viral infection.
  • Question 8

Matthew and Emma are planning to have a baby. Emma has been watching her reproductive cycle carefully - here is the diagram again:

If Emma released an egg on April 4th, on which days would there be a good chance of it being fertilised if they had sex then? Use the chart to work out your answer.

CORRECT ANSWER
April 2nd - 7th
EDDIE SAYS
Using the chart, look at where ovulation is: that's April 4th on Emma's cycle. That means that around April 4th she is at her most fertile: if they had sex just before and after April 4th there's a reasonable chance that the egg could be fertilised (it only remains fertile for 2-3 days but the sperm can survive for a number of days).
  • Question 9

If Emma's egg is not fertilised what will happen around day 28 on her cycle?

CORRECT ANSWER
she will start her period
EDDIE SAYS
If her egg was not fertilised she will not become pregnant during this cycle. At the end of the 28 days her \'period\' of bleeding will start, as the wall of the uterus breaks down. She will not release another egg until about day 14 of the next month\'s cycle.
  • Question 10

If Emma's egg was fertilised, when can she expect to release another egg?

CORRECT ANSWER
after the baby is born
EDDIE SAYS
Once she is pregnant the menstrual cycle is 'switched off' - that is the hormones that caused the 'period' are stopped. The baby develops over 9 months after which it is born - she cannot have eggs released during this time otherwise she might end up with several babies all at different stages of development (kangaroos can do this!). So she won't release another egg until her menstrual cycle starts up again sometime after the baby is born.
---- OR ----

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