Curriculum - Citizenship - Lesson plan - Just what the doctor ordered

30th April 2010 at 01:00
Primary: From conventional remedies to 'hot toddies', children should know which medicines are safe to take, how they are dispensed and who should administer them


It aims to raise awareness about medicines and how to take them properly, as well as the potential dangers of using them without adult supervision. The lesson combines role-play, sorting activities and presentations, and is aimed at key stage 1 children.


- Pupils understand that all household products, including medicines, can be harmful if not used properly.

- They understand that family and friends should care for each other.

- They can make simple choices that improve their health and well-being.


It is possible that children will disclose private or illegal activity at home which may raise child-protection issues. Establish ground rules so they can discuss personal issues without fear of ridicule.

Getting started

Ask the children to talk about times they have been unwell. Who looked after them? What did they do to help them feel better? Did they take any medicine or have any other treatment? Make a list of medicines or treatments the class has heard about. Discuss alternatives to medicines such as rest and drinking lots of water.

Divide the children into pairs and give them an outline of a human body and pictures of some of the medicines discussed. Ask them to decide whether the medicines go inside or outside the body and get them to stick the pictures in the correct place. Ensure pupils understand that medicines should only be taken in the way intended.

Use the Go Givers PowerPoint to explore who can give different types of medicines. Who gave Mitali the medicines in the story? Remind the children that although friends and neighbours suggested remedies, it was Mitali's mum who gave them to him.

Make sure children know that they should not use other people's medicines, that most can only be prescribed by a doctor, and that they need to be taken according to the instructions. They could make up their own role-play about going to the doctor and being given medicines.

Ask the children to reflect on Callum's suggestion that Mitali try a honey and lemon drink to help his sore throat, and his comment that his dad sometimes puts whisky in the drink. Do they know what whisky is? Explain that whisky is a type of alcohol that adults drink. Remind them that Callum is 14 and Mitali is six. Ask them why Mitali's mum does not put whisky in the honey and lemon drink.

Ensure the children know that alcohol, like medicine, can be dangerous.

Taking it further

Show pupils empty containers, including cigarette packets, alcohol bottles and cans, medicine bottles and other packets found in the home. Ask the children to work in pairs and sort the packets into those that are safe for children and those that are not. Ask the pupils where they have seen medicine containers - for example, such as in the supermarket or the bathroom.

Where to find it

A copy of the lesson plan, plus the Go Givers PowerPoint, uploaded by mwalimu3, can be found at



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Tackling Controversial Issues in the Primary School

By Richard Woolley

Routledge (Published June 16)

ISBN: 978-0415550185


Every primary school teacher knows the challenges of talking about controversial issues. This book offers guidance on some of the trickier questions and topics they are likely to encounter. The author is a senior lecturer in primary education at Bishop Grosseteste College in Lincoln.

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