Meeks Heit Health & Wellness

Unit 3: Family and Social Health

WebQuest Projects

The Risks of Teen Pregnancy and Teen Parenthood


In this WebQuest, students will research the risks of teen pregnancy and teen parenthood. They will discover a goal or activity in their lives that serves as an inspiration to postpone parenthood until they have finished high school and gained financial independence.


Before beginning their internet research, students will read the seven questions below to help guide their searches. After researching the Web sites, students will need to answer the questions and then write an essay in which they explain their own anti-teen pregnancy goal. This is an activity or a person that will keep them away from the risks of teen pregnancy and teen parenthood.


  • Investigate the risks of poverty for teen parents.
  • Identify the health risks for teen mothers and their babies.
  • Analyze reasons that some teens do not recognize the seriousness of teen pregnancy.
  • Learn about the health risks for a baby born to teen parents.
  • Analyze the effects of hobbies and talents on a teen's risk of teen pregnancy.
  • Discover the link between drug and alcohol use and teen pregnancy.
  • Investigate the effects of fathers who are absent from their children's lives.
  • Identify a goal which will be a focus for the student to avoid teen pregnancy and teen parenthood.


Students will use the internet resource sites provided to research the effects of teen pregnancy and teen parenthood. They will discover the physical and emotional risks of becoming a teen parent. These Web sites help illustrate many different sides of teen pregnancy and parenthood - statistics about poverty, educational opportunities, and the role of fathers in children's lives, and personal stories written by teen parents.

Students will analyze the role of self-esteem and self-confidence in becoming a teen parent. And they will create a plan for themselves to avoid teen parenthood by discovering their own reasons for anti-teen pregnancy, which is the person, activity, or goal that will keep them motivated to wait for pregnancy and parenthood until they are adults.


1-2 weeks for researching the Web sites, answering the questions, and writing the essay


Before students begin their research on the Web sites, have them review the list of questions provided on the student page. They will need to answer these questions after reviewing the information on the resource Web sites. These concepts will help students develop a sense of the seriousness and the risks of teen pregnancy. You may want to discuss these questions as a class prior to beginning the internet research.

Students should use their research to discover something in their lives that will help prevent teen pregnancy and teen parenthood from happening to them. These are going to be their reasons for anti-teen pregnancy. Students then will write an essay explaining what their anti-teen pregnancy reasons are and why they chose them. They need to discuss how this person, activity, or goal affects them and why it is important for them to avoid becoming a teen parent. Students should include in their essays several facts about the risks of teen pregnancy and teen parenthood and should demonstrate an understanding of the scope of the problem.


You may assign five points to each of the eight questions for a total of 40 possible points. The answers to the questions are given below. You may rate the answer to each question by the following scale: Excellent - 5 points; Very Good - 4 points; Good - 3 points; Satisfactory - 2 points; Poor - 1 point; and Unsatisfactory - 0 points.

  1. The generational cycle of teen pregnancy occurs when a teen whose own mother was a teen parent becomes pregnant. According to the March of Dimes, children born to teen parents have a higher risk of dropping out of school and of being raised in poverty. Teen parents may not be able to finish school themselves because they must care for a child, and therefore they may not be able to earn very much money. Also, children of teen parents have a much lower chance of living with their fathers. Nearly eight out of ten fathers of children born to teen mothers do not marry the mothers. All of these situations lead to an increased risk of teen pregnancy for the children of teen parents.
  2. One risk for a baby born to teen parents is low birth weight, which may occur when a teen mother delays prenatal care because she may not know she is pregnant, she may be afraid to tell anyone, or she doesn't know where to go for prenatal care. She may not understand the importance of prenatal care and the importance of eating healthy foods to nourish her developing baby. She may use drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. All of these things can cause low birth weight, according to the March of Dimes. Low birth weight is less than 5.5 pounds at birth and it can lead to physical and mental problems in the future. Also, low birth weight babies are more than 20 times more likely to die in their first year of life. Another risk for a baby born to teen parents is an increased risk of living in poverty. Babies born to teen parents may live in poverty because their parents have difficulty finishing school, caring for the baby, and working to support the baby. Living in poverty as a child increases the risks of malnutrition, illness, environmental health problems, not finishing school, being a victim of crime, and living in poverty as an adult. Babies born to teen parents also have the risk of having parents who, due their youth and inexperience, do not have adequate parenting skills. This can lead to disadvantages in social and physical development, abuse, or neglect.
  3. A child learns behaviors from his or her parents. If a child grows up without encouragement to do well in school, it is more likely that he or she may drop out before finishing their education.
  4. Teens who are pregnant may not know it right away. They may want to hide it because they don't know what to do. They may not understand why it is important to see a doctor for prenatal care as soon as they know they are pregnant. According to the March of Dimes, more pregnant teens smoke than pregnant women who are older. The baby can be affected by the mother's lack of prenatal care because the mother may continue harmful behavior such as smoking or drinking, the mother may not understand how to eat healthfully for the baby, or the baby or mother may have a medical problem that goes undetected.
  5. Teens are not as mature as adults and may not see the importance of spending time with their children. A teen father may not be held responsible for the day-to-day care of a child. Teen fathers may try to support the mother and child by working for a majority of the child's waking hours. When children do not have an active father in their lives they can suffer from feelings of abandonment, lack of adequate supervision, and lack of economic support.
  6. Girls who do not have good relationships with their fathers often look for attention from other males, which can lead to lack of self-esteem, early sexual activity, and teen pregnancy. Boys who do not have good relationships with their fathers have a higher incidence of job instability later in life. Both boys and girls are at risk for increased violence, poverty, and not finishing high school.
  7. When teens use drugs or alcohol, they lose control of their actions. They may make decisions and do things they would not do when sober. This is often the case with teen sex. Being high or drunk also increases the risk of being raped, which can result in teen pregnancy.
  8. When teens have certain hobbies or activities in which they are interested, they are less likely to be in a situation in which pregnancy can occur. They are less likely to turn to someone outside their families for validation or attention. They are less likely to suffer from low self-esteem or lack of self-confidence, which can lead to teen pregnancy.

Use the evaluation rubric below or other means to assess each student's essay.

Evaluating the Essay

Rubric for EssayPoints PossibleTeacher Assessment
Legitimate anti-teen pregnancy goal chosen and clearly identified10 
Clear explanations and reasons for opinions given10 
Essay is well organized and well written10 
Facts given to show understanding of the risks of teen pregnancy10 

Rate each category according to the following scale:
Excellent - 9-10 points; Very Good - 7-8 points; Good - 5-6 points; Satisfactory - 3-4 points; Poor - 1-2 points; and Unsatisfactory - 0 points.


After completing their internet research, students should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of the risks of teen pregnancy and teen parenthood by answering the WebQuest questions. Then, by writing an essay discussing how they will strive to avoid teen parenthood, students should begin to understand the seriousness of the issue and, through self-discovery, gain the knowledge and strength to control their futures.

Glencoe Online Learning CenterHealth HomeProduct InfoSite MapContact Us

The McGraw-Hill CompaniesGlencoe