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HIV Awareness Lesson Plan for Senior Phase (Grade 8)

Young people are more prone to take risks when they explore new things. This is a normal part of growing up. However, these risks can affect their health, dreams and future. Although HIV is a manageable disease and infected people can lead long productive lives, it does affect the destinies of people forever. In this edition of AfroAidsInfo, we provide you with a Life Orientation lesson plan for grade 8’s, the senior phase, which focuses on HIV/AIDS awareness.

Learning Area: Life Orientation

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Topic: Development of Self in Society

Content: My dreams, goals and future lie in my hands


  • HIV awareness with a strong focus on making health choices and decisions.
  • Encouraging young people to be responsible and to focus on their future plans.
Learning activities Teaching method:
  • My dreams, goals and future plans for my life
  • The cost of engaging in poor choices and decisions

When doing the following exercise with learners, please remain sensitive, yet positive and always offer care, hope and support. All learners should be treated as if they are HIV positive, as there could be learners in your class who are affected or infected by HIV/AIDS. Have a referral list of care and support services in your school community ready in the event that you would need to refer any learner. Invite learners to talk to you confidentially, should it be required and reassure them of the school’s confidentiality policy.

Please allow for discussion in pairs and ask for volunteers from the class for feedback
Activity 1: My dreams, goals and future plans for my life

  • Tell learners to draw a dream cloud on a piece of paper. Ask them to close their eyes and think of five of their dreams, goals and future plans. They then write these down in the dream cloud as well as on five pieces of paper, which they will hold in their hands. They then share their dreams, goals and future plans with their classmate sitting next to them. Also ask a few volunteers to share their dreams with the rest of the class.
  • Show learners the YouTube clip (Africageographic, 2014) or read the newspaper article (News24, 2013), of the British tourists who visited the Kruger National Park whose car was overturned by an elephant in 2013. In what risky behaviour did the tourists engage for the elephant to feel threatened and attack them? Elephants are not cuddly poodles, they are dangerous wild animals. Should these tourists have driven up so closely to the elephant and provoked it, were they making good or bad choices? They were taking a huge risk for a little bit of fun with terrible consequences. Sometimes young people take huge risks. Many of them think that they will be safe when experimenting with sex. This in itself is risky, could have negative consequences and could even prove dangerous and put young people’s health at serious risk. All a young person’s dreams, goals and plans for the future can be delayed or destroyed at once.
  • Ask learners to open their hands quickly on the count of three. They must let their five pieces of paper fly everywhere across the classroom.
  • Ask learners what just happened … A bad choice was made which sent their dreams, goals and future plans flying. Their dreams were destroyed. Learners should think and discuss in groups the bad choices that would keep them from fulfilling their dreams. When the learners give feedback, the teacher writes down some of the responses for all to see (e.g. pregnancy, infected with STIs, infected with HIV, lack of money, disruption of school, etc.).
  • Ask learners: What happened to your dreams? In an instant the dreams fell on the floor and were scattered all over the classroom. (Their dreams were shattered, destroyed, broken, gone). 
Activity 2: The cost of engaging in poor choices and decisions 
  • Ask learners to close their eyes and to use their imagination. Read the following two scenarios to them, leaving discussion time between each scenario.
  • Scenario 1: You have just found out that you/your girlfriend is pregnant. Ask learners to think about the scenario, still keeping their eyes closed. How will you deal with this; how will you tell your parents; how will your schooling be affected; how are you going to afford it; what would be the most difficult thing about falling pregnant or getting someone pregnant; how would pregnancy affect your social, sport and recreational activities; how would pregnancy affect the next year of your life; how would pregnancy affect your dreams, goals and future plans?
  • Learners close their eyes and imagine the next scenario.
  • Scenario 2: You have just found out that you are HIV-positive. Eyes still closed learners need to think about the following questions: What would it be like to tell your parents/caregivers; what would it be like to tell your friends and other family members; how would it feel to tell your partner; what is the one thing that might change for you because of HIV; and lastly how will this affect your dreams, goals and plans for the future?
 Conclusion: Making good or bad choices are in a person’s own hands. Getting pregnant, contracting HIV or a sexually transmitted disease can have a huge impact on one’s life. Especially the dreams, goals and future plans of a young person. This will negatively impact on their schooling, family, as well as their own health. In other words, the early sexual debut of a young person has long-term implications. Although people affected or infected by HIV can lead a long and productive life, a cure for AIDS has still not been found.

Type of assessment:

Formal assessment

Form of assessment:

Present learners with additional reasons to enforce preventable measures against HIV and adopt and sustain a healthy lifestyle, physically and emotionally. Alternative strategies to delay a young person’s sexual debut until responsible adulthood.

Expanded opportunities:
Developing character qualities such as accountability, responsibility, self-control, integrity, respect, patience, interpersonal awareness, and being goal-orientated.

ASSESSMENT RUBRIC: Presentation of group discussions and posters

Activity: Name:
Date: Grade:
Level 7
Excellent achievement far exceeding expected requirements
Level 6
A very good achievement where all requirements have been met at a very high standard
Level 5
A good achievement meeting most of the requirements
Level 4
A fair achievement meeting an adequate portion of the requirements
Level 3
A moderate achievement partially satisfying the requirements
Level 2
An elementary achievement marginally satisfying the requirements
Present with understanding key concepts, ideas and point of view
Work in group/pairs as a team member
Follow instructions
Listen to and evaluate ideas of others
Support others
Use correct vocabulary and terminology
Speak clearly and audibly

Teaching learners this lesson will encourage and guide them to think before making a decision with regards to sexual activity at a young age and will also promote the delay of their sexual debut for as long as possible.


  • Africageographic. (2014) Elephant rolls car – shock footage of latest Kruger incident [Online] Accessed on 27 March 2013.
  • News24. (2013) Elephant rolls car – shock footage of latest Kruger incident [Online] Accessed on 27 March 2014.
  • Background reading:
    National Curriculum Statement. Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement. [Online] Accessed (26 March 2011).

Author: Loretta Erasmus (BA): Managing Director: Women and Youth Leadership Academy (WaYLA)
Reviewed by:
Jean Fourie (MPhil), Michelle Moorhouse (MBBCh, DA) and Alfred Thuthloa (MPhil)
Date: April 2014

Preferred citation
Erasmus, L. (2014) HIV Awareness Lesson Plan for Senior Phase (Grade 8), AfroAIDSinfo. Issue 14, no. 4, Education. (Open access).

Last updated: 1 April, 2014