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Introduction

Asthma is the most common chronic childhood condition and a leading cause of school absences. More than 3 million American children (6.1% of all children) have asthma. This means that in a classroom of 30 children, two children are likely to have asthma. Unlike many other childhood illnesses, both hospitalizations and deaths due to asthma are increasing. Recent scientific advances have led to changes in our understanding and treatment of asthma. While asthma cannot be cured, it can be controlled so that children can be active and healthy.

With asthma occurring in almost every classroom in America, it is important that you, the teacher, integrate an asthma lesson into the regular curriculum on body systems. The content information on asthma can play a valuable role in reducing the problems experienced by children with asthma when their condition is poorly understood by those around them. The activities, especially those on decision making, are relevant to all students.

Developed for use with elementary school children, these lessons are easily integrated into a comprehensive health education curriculum and/or into science as it relates to body systems and the environment. They can also be integrated into social sciences as they relate to getting along with others and learning about community resources. The lessons include suggestions for math, art, and language arts activities.

There are two lessons for grades K-3, each requiring about 30 minutes per session. Instruction for grades 4-6 are also divided into two lessons, each about 30 minutes in length. Lesson length is dependent on your choice of teaching strategies. Lessons will be longer if you employ several interactive strategies or supplemental activities such as puppet shows, films, and readings.

The lessons are designed to:

  • Develop a basic understanding of asthma and help correct misinformation.
  • Inform students about appropriate actions that can help people with asthma.
  • Provide resources to share with parents and other family members.

In the resource section, you will find information to help you learn more about asthma before teaching the lessons. Included also are resources for additional information for you, your students, and their parents.


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