Middle Years Education in Manitoba: Improving Student Engagement

Changes in Adolescence

Physical Changes

Young adolescents experience many physical changes. No set pattern of growth and development fits every child. The timing and degree of physical change depend on each individual.

During the Middle Years, young adolescents experience:

  • rapid growth spurts and body changes
  • Puberty

    Many physical changes occur during puberty:

    • Weight and height increase.
    • Body hair appears.
    • Voice changes occur.
    • Sexual organs grow and mature.
    • Girls menstruate and develop breasts and wider hips.
    • Boys develop broader shoulders, stronger muscles and the capacity to ejaculate.
    • Acne, perspiration and body odour may increase.
    • For more information, see: AboutKidsHealth - Puberty Information
    hormonal changes that result in signs of *, with girls usually reaching puberty earlier than boys
  • a need for more food, sleep and exercise
  • excessive hunger and thoughts about food
  • times of extreme tiredness—adolescents need an average of 9 to 10 hours of sleep each night
  • awkward or clumsy movements
  • outbursts of energy
  • oily skin or skin blemishes caused by hormonal changes
  • concerns about appearance

“My parents and I already talked about adolescence, growing up, puberty, periods, etc. It gets awkward talking about puberty but it’s a part of a kid’s life, we need to know what’s going on with our bodies.”

~ Middle Years student

“Being a teenager is hard sometimes, with your body growing up so fast.”

~ Middle Years student

“I had a rule with my child when she was cranky. I would give her a piece of cheese and wait 15 minutes.”

~ Parent of Middle Years student

“When I noticed my son had to start wearing deodorant, I just bought him some when we were grocery shopping together. We were in the aisle and I just said to him, ‘I guess it’s about time I started getting you your own stick too, so why don’t you pick out one you like?’”

~ Parent of Middle Years student