The kids are always stimulated by using material that's not in the textbook to teach a lesson. And they like it when they're expected to rise above being just a "6th grader." For example, today I read this article in the Wall Street Journal about the Catholic use of YouTube to disseminate the anti-abortion message:
The critical quote is, "We're able to reach people directly," said Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life. He stars in a series of matter-of-fact videos that explain how abortions are performed, with a plastic model of a fetus as a prop."
I have a plastic fetus I received from the Family Honor program a few years ago, it's a great prop, the kids've seen it a half-dozen times already. Here's the quick 2-minute pitch I made with the article & the fetus:
I started by asking the class if they've ever heard of YouTube, which gets them laughing & perked up, since who doesn't know what YouTube is? Ya kiddin' rite? YouTube... what fun!
Then I showed the front page of the WSJ, said I consider it America's best newspaper. Turned to the article, described it briefly, including the YouTube reference, then read the aforementioned quote. Right before I get to the part about the fetus, I bring my fetus up from behind the newspaper. They focus on the fetus for a second before they hear "plastic fetus." Putting down the paper, we do some review about abortion and have a laugh at how the Wall Street Journal and YouTube are just now catching up to our class, which has been hip to plastic fetuses for months.
I close by noting the Catholic Church is hated by some people (and remember, Jesus was hated too) for opposing things like abortion, that YouTube can be more than entertainment. Then I kiss the fetus & speak to it like you'd kiss and talk to a baby, silly goo-goo talk "you're such a sweet little thing, you're so cute," so the kids'll cringe "eeeewww" and I remind them, hey don't "eeeww" me, you used to look just like this! Were you a person then? Yes! That's right, you were!
This is standard every time the fetus makes an appearance, so they kind of expect to groan, and then be reprimanded. By doing this I hope to get them past how weird fetuses look, and to accept them as regular babies.