Lesson 3: Medicine Measuring Tools
Note to Teachers: Before beginning each lesson in the OTC Literacy program, inform students that they should never take medicine without the supervision of a parent or trusted adult.
In this lesson we will focus on medicine measuring tools as they relate to the dosage information on the Drug Facts Label. We'll explore why medicines come with dosing devices and the importance of exact dosage while also reiterating that students should never calculate dosages for themselves, but that all medicines should be dosed and used under the supervision of a parent or trusted adult.
- Identify information found in dosage instructions on Drug Fact Labels (when, how, and how often to take the medicine)
- Explain the importance of reading and understanding dosage information
- Understand why using proper dosing tools is important
- Discuss possible consequences of not following dosage instructions
Materials: Student Worksheet 3, bottle of pediatric medicine filled with colored water and its dosing device, bottle of adult medicine filled with colored water and its dosing device, tableware teaspoon, different-sized syringe dosing devices, paper and pen or pencil, Internet access
Time: One 40-minute class period
- Begin discussion by talking about the importance of using the right tools when measuring different things. Ask: If I wanted to measure how far it is from the school to my house, would I use a ruler? Why or why not? What are some different ways that people make mistakes when measuring things out?
- Have students begin to think about why accurate measurements are important. Ask: What are some times when getting less accurate measurements or even estimating are okay? When is it important to get really accurate measurements? Why?
- Ask students to think back to Lesson 2 "Reading & Understanding the Drug Facts Label." Which section of the label talks about how much medicine to take? Then discuss different information contained in the dosage section of the Drug Facts Label (method of dosage, amount of medicine to take, and how often to take the medicine).
- Explain that, in today's lesson, students are going to learn why reading and understanding dosage instructions is important, and why medicines should always be measured using the proper dosing devices under adult supervision.
- Show students the different medicine bottles (filled with colored water) and measuring devices.
- Read dosing information for the pediatric medicine. Then try to measure out the correct dose using the dosing devices that are not meant for the pediatric medicine. Next measure out the dose using the correct device. Discuss with the class why using the correct device is important.
- Repeat activity with adult medicine, except this time try to measure it out with devices that are too small for the correct dosage. Discuss again the potential dangers of using the wrong device and why using the correct one is important.
- Show students a medicine bottle that recommends a dosage of two teaspoons of medicine. Then take out a household teaspoon utensil. Measure out two teaspoons of "medicine" into the teaspoon, pouring the liquid you've measured out into a dosing cup that has an accurate measurement for two teaspoons. Discuss the discrepancy with the class and again reinforce the importance of using the measuring device that comes with the medicine.
- Discuss with students what some of the consequences of incorrect dosing might be. Pull up the Safe Kids website on your whiteboard, and review the information about safe dosing with students. Talk about how measuring doses incorrectly (measuring out tablespoons instead of teaspoons, for example) can create an overdose situation. Reinforce the importance of always communicating with a trusted adult before taking any medicine.
- Distribute Student Worksheet 3.
- Have students complete the worksheet; this can either be done individually, or you can lead the class in working through it together and discussing each example.
- Distribute the family newsletter resource available at scholastic.com/OTCliteracy so students may continue the discussion at home.