Introduction: Interactive Menstrual Cycle Exhibit Using Paper Undies

Menstrual cycle education isn't an area that's seen much innovation until now!  So here are instructions for making an interactive menstrual cycle teaching tool that's great for all ages and learning styles.   Think of it as the menstrual cycle as you've never seen it  before!  I am including the instructions for making this exhibit.  

Students will learn the different phases of the menstrual cycle concretely and visually.  The paper panties show and explain  the changes a woman's body undergoes throughout her entire 28 day cycle.  The visual design on each pair of paper panties gives viewers cues as to for what's happening on that day.  The tags on the sides of the panties show the cycle day and a brief description of what's happening on that day.

For example, there are big red polka dots for the first day of the period when the flow is heavy.  The red polka dots get smaller and smaller as the panties go from Day 1-Day 6.  

On the days where a woman is close to ovulation and is fertile, the panties are colored in pastel baby colors to show that pregnancy is possible on these days.  

During the second half of the cycle, the panties transition slowly from solid white to solid black indicating the darkening of one's mood and attitude as estrogen and progesterone fall creating PMS symptoms.

I am assuming that the niche internet community that will dig this project already knows a lot about the menstrual cycle.  Because of this, I will not be including detailed medical or biological information about all that happens during a typical menstrual cycle.  But if you have question, get in touch!

Step 1: Gather Supplies

All you need to put this display together is: 

-a garment rack
-hangers with clips
-printer with 57 pages of 11x17 white paper
-extra people to help cut out all the panties and put them together (it's a big job!).  With two of us it took about 2 hours to assemble all the paper panties

I've included the PDF document which includes the paper panties and the section labels.

Print out the PDF and start cutting out the panties.  Make sure you keep the matching fronts and backs of each day together.

Step 2: Assemble the Panties

Using tape and or staples, attach the two side tabs together so that the label lies flat and is clearly legible.

Step 3: Label Cycle Sections

Using the labels provided from page 1 of the PDF, create labels for the large sections of the menstrual cycle and add them to the rack.

Now I know every woman's cycle is different and that for some peak fertility will come on day 20 of a 34 day cycle, or that PMS can last longer than just three days (mercy!)  but this educational tool shows the most typical 28 day cycle with the most common sequence of events.

Step 4: Rack It Up

The last thing you need to do is put the assembled panties on the hangers and put them on the garment rack.

Step 5: Educational Handout

Here is an accompanying handout for the rack of panties.  I'm attaching the PDF so you can print out copies for your students/participants/patients.