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Health Professionals

Lesson Two for Grades K-3
How Can I Help?

25 Minutes

On Your Mark


Students will be able to:

  1. State that people with asthma can stay healthy most of the time if they do these things: stay away from things such as furry pets or cigarette smoke that make their asthma worse; go to the doctor; and take medicine.
  2. Identify two things classmates can do to help a person who has asthma such as including him or her in activities, not teasing him/her, and helping the student stay away from things that make his or her asthma worse, staying calm in an emergency, getting help if needed.

Get Set

Teacher Preparation


Focus the Learner

Classroom Activity: Review Lesson One and any homework assignment. "Yesterday, we talked about asthma. We learned that some people are born with asthma. It makes breathing harder sometimes. We also learned that furry and feathered pets, colds, and playing hard can make a person's asthma get worse." Display the Things that Make Asthma Worse cards.

"Today, you will be able to name two things that people with asthma can do to stay healthy."


"If someone in our class had asthma, what might happen if we had a hamster in our classroom?" Responses may include: make it harder for the person with asthma to breathe, make them cough or wheeze.

"One way children with asthma can stay healthy is to stay away from things that make their asthma worse. "If someone in our class had asthma, we should not have a furry pet. If our classroom wanted to learn about animals, what could we do?" Responses may include: haue a cricket or a lizard for a classroom pet, learn about furry animals through books and videos, keep any furry pet far away from the person with asthma.

"A cold or flu can also make asthma worse. One of the best ways to avoid colds and flu is to wash your hands regularly. This is a good idea for all children, not just those with asthma."

"Playing hard can make asthma worse, but since children need to play and exercise for healthy bodies, some children with asthma take medicine before they play hard."

Background Note: A child with asthma may need to take medicine and wait awhile before starting to play. Just because a child feels short of breath when exercising does not mean s/he has asthma. See the Resources for Teachers Section for additional information if you think one of your students may have asthma.

"Other important ways that children with asthma stay healthy is to see their doctor and take medicine to keep their lungs breathing easily. Many children with asthma take medicine every day."

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 medicines which 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 parents, school nurse, and school principal. Children take medicine in different ways, including pills, inhalers, syrups, and nebulizers. Students should never share medicines.

Classroom Activity: Pass out the Asthma Maze sheet. Either as a group, in pairs, or as individuals, complete the maze by avoiding things that make asthma worse. Check the student responses and provide additional information as appropriate.

"If you ever wondered if you might have asthma, you should talk to your Mom or Dad or the person you live with. You also can talk with the school nurse. To find out for sure, your parents or the people you live with should take you to the doctor."

Additional Activity: You may want to correlate this lesson with your instruction about community resources and helping professionals such as nurses, doctors, etc.

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. A peak flow meter is a simple, hand held device that measures how fast air can move out of the lungs. Children are often curious about asthma medicines. It is a good idea to invite the school nurse, a volunteer from a health agency or a parent to come and give a demonstration about peak flow meters and asthma medicines.

Check for Understanding

"Name at least one thing people with asthma can do to stay healthy." Responses may include: stay away from things that make their asthma worse, see the doctor, take medicine regularly, and may, if necessary, take medicine before running and playing hard.


"We've leamed that people with asthma can run and play and be healthy if they avoid things that make their asthma worse and take the medicine their doctor gave them."

Focus the Learner

"What are some things you can do to be nice to your friends?" Ask for a few responses. You may want to record responses on the board. Responses may include: play with them, say kind things to them, sit by them, help them with things.

"People with asthma want to be treated nicely just like anyone else."

"We're going to talk about some nice things we can do for people with asthma."


Classroom Activity: For students who are already familiar with a problem solving model, you can use the format and scenarios found in Lesson Two of the grade 4-6 curriculum. For children who have not yet been introduced to such a format, use the material in this lesson.

Introduce and read the following scenario to the class:

"Betty, a second grader, has asthma. She is supposed to take a special medicine before her PE class and recess so that she can run and play. Sometimes the other kids tease her about taking her medicine. They say mean things. One kid called her a sissy."

"How do you think Betty feels?" Responses may include sad, hurt, angry, embarrassed.

"What could the other children in Betty's class do to be nice?" Responses may include: quit teasing and calling names, play with her, include her in games, remind her to take her medicine, don't tease her about taking her medicine.

Additional Activity: As time permits, introduce the other scenarios to help children explore ways they can be supportive of children with asthma. Include discussion about helping children avoid things that make their asthma worse, in the classroom, on the playground, or even outside of school while visiting each other's homes.

Have the students draw a picture and/or write a story about what they can do to help a child with asthma. Display completed pictures and stories on the bulletin board.

Additional Art or Language Arts Activity: Have the class write and illustrate a story about a child their age with asthma in the form of a "Big Book." Children could also make posters that describe how to help children who have asthma. If a child with asthma has to go to the hospital, the class could make a get well card or story. Another activity could be drawing pictures of a classroom or bedroom that is free of things that make asthma worse but is still fun!



"Today you learned that people with asthma should stay away from the things that make their asthma worse and take medicine if their doctor tells them to. That way they can run and play. You also learned that boys and girls with asthma want to be treated nicely just like everyone else. It's important not to tease them about their asthma or call them names. You should include them in your games. You can also be helpful by reminding them to take their medicine if they need to take it before playing hard."

Classroom Activity: Administer and collect Post-Test. Review correct responses.

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