Lesson Two for Grades 4-6
How Can I Help?
On Your Mark
Students will be able to:
- State that asthma can be controlled when someone
with asthma avoids the things that can make his/her asthma worse.
- Describe children with asthma as active, healthy
people who can run, play, and go to school.
- Identify the things classmates can do to help a
child who has asthma such as not tease, include the child with asthma in
activities, and remind the child to take his/her medicine, stay calm in case of
an emergency, get help if needed.
- State that children who think they or a friend
might have asthma can seek help from the people they live with, the school
nurse, a doctor, or teacher.
- Make copies of the Post-Test if not done for Lesson
- Prepare What Makes
Asthma Worse cards if not done for Lesson One
- Make copies of the Scenarios
- Make copies of the Crossword Puzzle
- Write vocabulary words from Lesson One on the
- Write the following questions on the board:
"What part of the respiratory system is affected by asthma?"
your own words what happens to the airways."
"Name one thing that can make
Focus the Learner
Classroom Activity: Guide children,
through either small group or whole class discussion, to discover the special
plans and actions that they take to deal with the hot sun. This will set the
stage for learning about the plans and actions needed to protect a child from
an asthma episode.
"Think about going on an all day trip to a park where
there will be swimming and games outside. The weather report says it is going
to be very sunny and hot. What special plan or actions will you and your
friends take so that you can have a fun, safe trip?" Responses may include:
food, swim suit, equipment for the games, sunscreen, hats, a shirt to cover up,
"We have to make special plans and take extra things
to avoid getting thirsty or sunburned."
"Today you will learn what special plans and actions
children with asthma can do to avoid or to control asthma episodes so they can
be as active as children who do not have asthma. You'll also learn how we can
help someone who has asthma."
Classroom Activity: Review Lesson
One. Elicit responses to the following questions and put correct response on
the board and review. Use the appropriate Respiratory System and
Asthma transparency and What Makes Asthma Worse cards to
reinforce the correct answers.
"Yesterday, we talked about asthma. Turn to your
partner and take turns answering the three questions on the board:
"What part of the respiratory system is affected by
asthma?" Response: the airways in the lungs.
"Describe in your own words what happens to the
airways." Response: the airways get pinched and clogged making it hard to
"Name one thing that can make asthma worse." Responses may include: cigarette smoke, dust from pillows, exercise, furry
and feathered pets.
"Remember how we made special plans for the trip to
the park to keep from getting too thirsty or getting a sunburn? That way we
could play all day. Well, someone with asthma can make a plan to keep healthy.
They can do things to avoid asthma episodes and keep themselves from getting
worse if they start an episode. That way children with asthma can run, play,
and go to school just like anybody else."
Classroom Activity: Write on the
chalkboard the things a child can do to prevent or control asthma episodes:
a. Avoid things that make asthma worse.
c. Use a Peak Flow Meter.
An alternative, more interactive lesson is to group
children in threes. Each child in the group reads and then teaches the others
in their group about one of the topics discussed below.
"Let's talk about each one of the things that a child
can do to control their asthma."
a. Avoid things that make asthma
"Many asthma episodes can be avoided. One of the most
important ways to keep from having an asthma episode is to stay away from
things that make asthma worse. For example, when Janie is around furry and
feathered pets, her airways swell up and she starts to have trouble breathing.
The longer she stays around the pet, the worse she feels. How could Janie
prevent an asthma episode?" Response: Stay away from the pet.
"What things could she do to keep an asthma episode
from getting worse if she had already handled the pet?" Response: Go into
another room. Wash her hands and face. Take her asthma medicine.
Give additional examples such as staying away from
other things, such as cigarette smoke and paint, as time allows.
"Exercise, running, and playing hard can make some
children's asthma worse. But it's important to exercise and to stay healthy.
Children with asthma often take medicine before or during exercise to avoid an
asthma episode. They just have to plan ahead, just like we planned for our trip
on a sunny, hot day."
b. Take medicine.
Background Note: Scientific advances
have changed our understanding of asthma. We now know that asthma is not a
condition with isolated episodes (attacks). It is a chronic condition that
makes the airways overly sensitive. Chronic inflammation (swelling inside the
airways) is the main contributor to this airway sensitivity. Treatment for
people with anything more than mild, occasional episodes includes daily therapy
with anti-inflammatory medicines that prevent or reduce inflammation. This
helps reduce the sensitivity of the airways and prevent episodes. Doctors
usually prescribe this medicine so students can take it before and after
school, but sometimes it is necessary to take preventive medicine during school
hours. Both medicine taken on a regular preventive basis and medicine needed to
control an asthma episode should be available and convenient for the student at
school. Many students can even carry and self-administer their medicine. If
your students with asthma have difficulty getting their medicine, please
discuss this with the parent, school nurse, and school principal. Children take
medicine in different ways including pills. inhalers, syrups and nebulizers.
Students should never share medicines.
"Many people take medicine to keep asthma episodes
from happening. Some children may take it every day. Taking medicine every day
even when they feel fine is very important because it keeps their airways from
getting swollen and more sensitive. Children with asthma can keep their airways
open and feeling fine by taking their asthma medication. Some children take
medicine just before exercise. This medicine helps stop the muscles from
squeezing the airways."
"Children take another kind of medicine after they
start to have trouble breathing during an asthma episode. When an episode
starts, it is very important to start taking medicine right away. This stops
the problem before it gets too big. If children with asthma take their medicine
right away, they usually will feel better quickly and be able to go back to
their activities. If they don't take their medicine right away, the breathing
problems may get so difficult that they have to stop their activities and take
even more medicine. It's like putting out a fire. If a fire is small, you can
put it out quickly with a little water. If you wait, the fire gets bigger and
it takes lots of water, fire trucks, and lots of help to stop it. Just like our
plan for our trip, children with asthma have a plan for dealing with an asthma
"An asthma episode can be mild or serious. A mild
episode can make someone cough or be short of breath for a little while. When
the episode is serious, people may wheeze and have a lot of trouble getting
enough air. Whether the episode is mild or serious, children with asthma need
to follow the plan that they worked out with their doctor and family to stop
their asthma episode. They may need to take medicine, see their doctor, or even
go to a hospital. But, most asthma episodes can be controlled before they get
serious. That's why it is so important to act right away once the first signs
of an asthma episode are noticed."
c. Use a peak flow meter.
"Some people use a tool called a peak flow meter to
tell them how much air they are getting in and out of their airways. Just as we
use a thermometer to tell us if we have a fever and need medicine, a peak flow
meter can tell people who have asthma if an asthma episode is about to happen
and they need to take medicine."
Additional Activity: If there is a
child in the class with asthma, s/he may volunteer to talk about his/her asthma
and show his/her medicine and peak flow meter. The school nurse, a volunteer
from a hospital, or a parent can be invited to come and give a demonstration of
the peak flow meter comparing the readings before and after exercise for the
whole class or on a few students. The person could also demonstrate asthma
Check for Understanding
"Can you name one thing people with asthma can do to
control their asthma?" Avoid things that make asthma worse, take medicine,
use a peak flow meter.
"How can medicine be used for asthma?" Response:
some medicine is used to prevent an asthma episode. Other medicine is used to
stop or reduce an episode that already has started.
"People with asthma feel fine most of the time. They
don't want to be treated differently. When they do have an asthma episode, it
is important to be kind and helpful."
Classroom Activity: If you have
already instructed students in problem solving, use your model/format. In the
scenario, the problem can be "solved" from Joe's point of view or from that of
the rest of the class. Have the students "solve" it from the class's point of
view first. If time permits, you can go through the steps as if you were Joe.
"Joe doesn't want to take his asthma medicine before
his PE class or recess because other kids tease him about it. They say mean
things. One kid called him a druggie. Some kids even hide his medicine from
him. Joe feels hurt, angry, and embarrassed. During the PE class, many of the
kids don't want Joe to be on their team because he often ends up having an
||Teacher Key for
|1. Define the problem
||Kids are mean to Joe
|2. Identify the alternatives
||Keep teasing and being mean or
Be kind by asking Joe to join teams, not teasing him, and
reminding him to take his medicine.
|3. Identify the consequences
||Being mean could get students into
trouble with the teacher; could make them feel bad; make Joe angry with them
and/or cause Joe harm.
Being helpful would make Joe feel better; students
would not get into trouble; they could feel good about their actions.
|4. Make a decision and act
||Being helpful and kind to Joe would
result in the most positive consequences.
|5. Evaluate the decision; modify as
Divide the class into groups of 4-5 students.
Distribute one scenario (use the Scenarios sheet) to each group. Ask
each group to identify a recorder, a reporter, a timekeeper, and one or two
people to keep the group on the task. Have them discuss the questions and
record their answers. Debrief the small group responses with the entire class.
Summarize helpful and kind things students can do for someone with asthma. This
may include: no teasing, no pressure to do things or stay around things that
make the asthma worse, letting them take their medicine without making a big
deal about it, reminding them to take their medicine before exercise when
applicable, and helping during an asthma episode by getting adult help.
Select the scenarios that are most appropriate for
your students. You can develop additional scenarios or encourage students to
work on a problem that actually happened in your class or school. Working
through the scenarios is an excellent way to reinforce a social climate which
supports a child with asthma or other conditions. During your discussion, help
students recognize that behavior like hiding a medicine or making someone with
asthma be around something that can make his/her asthma worse can be very
dangerous. It can make the student sick and perhaps lead to a very serious
Additional Language Arts Activity: Have students write to the child in their scenario who has asthma, giving the
child suggestions of how she/he could respond to their classmates.
Additional Dramatic/Performing Arts
Activity: Have students practice and perform scenarios as skits for
the class. If time allows, you can make this section more active by having
students write responses to the following questions on cards and show to the
rest of the class.
"We've identified ways we can be helpful to people
with asthma. What signs or symptoms might make you think you might have
asthma?" Responses include coughing, trouble catching my breath after
exercise, coughing when I am around chalk dust.
Background Note: Most children will
cough when exposed to chalk dust or may be short of breath after vigorous
exercise. This does not mean that the child has asthma. A child without asthma
will recover quickly, without medicines. A child with asthma may require
medicine to recover.
"Now I would like you to think about what you would do
if you thought you had asthma." Responses should include telling
parent(s)/guardian, school nurse and/or other trusted adult.
"How can we help classmates with asthma?" Responses should include: children with asthma in all activities, do not
make fun of their medicine, help them stay away from the things that make their
asthma worse. If needed, remind students that they can not catch asthma from
"The sooner people find out that they have asthma, the
easier it will be to control and avoid serious asthma episodes and lead a life
full of activities."
"Today you have learned ways that people can avoid and
control asthma episodes by taking medicine, avoiding the things that make
asthma worse, and using a peak flow meter. When people with asthma keep it
under control, they can run, play, and go to school like everyone else. We also
learned that we can help people with asthma by including them in activities,
reminding them to take their medicine, and not teasing them."
Classroom Activity: Administer
posttest. Review correct responses.
Additional Language Arts Activity: Use crossword puzzle.
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