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
- Inform students about appropriate actions that can
help people with asthma.
- Provide resources to share with parents and other
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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