Hands-on Activity: Pill Dissolving Demo
Educational Standards :
Learning Objectives (Return to Contents)
After this activity, students should be able to:
Materials List (Return to Contents)
For the class demonstration:
Introduction/Motivation (Return to Contents)
We have been asked to determine which type of medicine works the fastest.
So many TV and magazine advertisements claim that their medicines offer the quickest relief.
So we are going to do our own experiment to observe three different pill forms to investigate whether the ads are truthful in their claims of offering quick relief, and to determine which type breaks down the fastest in the body.
How does medicine get into the bloodstream? The human stomach is filled with an acidic solution that breaks down all the food and liquid that we ingest.
How long do you think it takes for a pill to dissolve in the stomach? To create a similar environment, we will use vinegar.
Watch the pills carefully. You may be surprised at what happens!
Vocabulary/Definitions (Return to Contents)
Procedure (Return to Contents)
Investigating Questions (Return to Contents)
How does medicine get into the bloodstream? (Answer: Common ways are pills, liquids and shots. Medicines that reach the stomach are broken down so they can enter the bloodstream.)
How long does it take for a pill to dissolve in the stomach? (Answer: Ranges from 15-30 minutes.)
What does this imply about those in liquid form? (Answer: Liquid forms go through the same process as pills once they reach the stomach.)
What happens when you receive a shot? (Answer: The medicine bypasses the digestive process and goes directly into a person's bloodstream.)
Assessment (Return to Contents)
Short Answer Homework: Assign students to individually answer the following questions with short answers. Review their answers to gauge their comprehension of the subject. Tell the students: Earlier (in the associated lesson), you viewed a short animated video on medicine being injected into the blood stream. We then discussed how long it takes for the medicine in injections, as well as in pills and liquids, to typically take effect. Now, you have just observed an experiment to compare how quickly various types of pills dissolve in acidic environments. With this information, you are now able to answer the first part of the challenge question.
Activity Scaling (Return to Contents)
ContributorsMichelle Woods (primary author)
Copyright© 2011 by Vanderbilt University
Including copyrighted works from other educational institutions and/or U.S. government agencies; all rights reserved. The contents of this digital library curriculum were developed under National Science Foundation RET grants no. 0338092 and 0742871. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.
Supporting Program (Return to Contents)VU Bioengineering RET Program, School of Engineering, Vanderbilt University
Last Modified: April 17, 2014