Lesson Plan #3: Stay cautious

Learning objective

The pupils will get to know the concept of exposure as well as long term and short term effects. Furthermore they will be able to explain the meaning of the hazard pictograms Health Hazard, Serious Health Hazard and Corrosive and how to handle products with a hazard label in a safe way.


4th to 6th grade (approximately 10-12 years old)


Two lessons or 90 minutes

Introduction to the hazard pictograms

  • In this lesson we will focus on health hazards and how to protect yourself.
  • Four of the nine hazard pictograms tell you that the product can damage your health if it is not handled in a correct manner. Show the pictograms Health hazard, Serious health hazard, Corrosive and Acute toxic on the computer from the website Hanna’s House.
  • However one of them – the Acute toxic pictogram – should not be found on household products. These types of chemicals are extremely toxic and are only used in the industry and in laboratories or by other professional users.

Make presumptions about how you are exposed to chemicals

Draw a sketch of a body on the whiteboard. Make sure that the face has eyes, nose, mouth and ears. The pupils are supposed to make presumptions that will be tested in Hanna’s House later on. Therefore there are no correct answers to the following questions. The important thing is to get the pupils to reflect and discuss.

  • Question 1: Do any of you know the meaning of the word “exposure” or “to be exposed to something”?
    Use the sketch to show in what way a human body can be exposed to something.

    The pupils suggestions could be: Noise, air pollution, teasing.

    Define “exposure” in this context. Tell the pupils that here the word means “the different ways a body can be exposed to chemicals”.
  • Question 2: In what way can you be exposed to chemicals in your daily life?
    The pupils’ suggestions could be: Skin, eyes, inhaling through the nose and the mouth, swallowing. Write the suggestions on the board.
  • Question 3: What could be the consequences of being exposed to chemicals?
    The pupils’ suggestions could be: Irritation or burning of the skin, dizziness, breathing problems, headache, allergy etc. Write the suggestions on the board.

    Follow-up question: Have anyone had any bad experiences due to exposure to chemicals e.g. allergy?
  • Question 4: What do you think you can do to protect yourself from being exposed to chemicals?
    The pupils’ suggestions could be: Use gloves, eye protection, ventilate the room, using alternatives to hazardous chemicals. Write the suggestion on the board.
  • Question 5: What should you do if an accident occurs?
    The pupils’ suggestions could be: Calling a doctor, rinsing with water, drinking a lot of water. Write the suggestions on the board.

Research and reflection: Read the article “Stay cautious”.

  • Ask the pupils to read the article “Stay cautious” on the website com. You can also print hand-outs of the article. The pupils should be able to read the article in 10-15 minutes. Do it in class or as homework.
  • Let the pupils discuss the article in pairs and write down any questions.
  • Let the pupils ask clarifying questions about the article in class.
  • Discussion in class: What is the difference between effects that occur shortly after contact with chemicals and effects that are seen long time after contact with chemicals?

Testing presumptions: Visit Hanna’s House

  • Go through the 9 situations in Hanna’s House and find the products with the three health related pictograms (serious health hazard, health hazard and corrosive) on the label (work in pairs)
  • Take notes about the different products.
    • How are you exposed to the chemicals in the different products?
    • What are the possible effects?
    • Is it long term or short term effect – or maybe both?
    • What could you do to protect yourself?
  • In class: Walk through the pupils’ answers from the previous presumption session. Fill in with new insights from the Hanna’s House session.

Extend the lesson plan: Design a “Stay cautious” campaign

By now your pupils are experts regarding the human health hazards using household chemicals and the hazard pictograms Health hazard, Serious health hazard and Corrosive.

Tell them that they can use their knowledge to make a campaign on their school:

  • The target group is children between 8 and 12 years.
  • The aim of the campaign is to share their knowledge about the hazard pictograms Health hazard, Serious health hazard and Corrosive.
  • The campaign message is: Be very cautious if you see these pictograms.
  • Their campaign could consist of:
  1. A poster with safety advice to hang on the walls of the school.
  2. A flyer to distribute to the target group during a lunch break.
  3. Maybe the pupils can think of other effective ways to deliver the message.
  4. Urge the target group to visit hannashouse.com and take the quiz.

Use screen dumps from the website for the visuals.