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Medicines for Pets

  • Age range: 7-9 years, 9-11 years
  • Science topic: Forces, Materials, Topical science
  • Type of enquiry: Comparative/fair tests, Problem solving

This publication focuses on the processes involved in developing pet medicines. The context is closely related to the challenges faced by research scientists and manufacturers in the pharmaceutical industry. Activities investigate the extraction and purification of the active ingredient, the formulation of a tablet, the best tablet shape and developing a suitable coating.

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The lifecycle of a pet medicine

Science topic: Topical science
Type of enquiry: Problem solving
Keywords: science capital, STEM careers, scientist, using a key, asking questions, manufacturing

This activity introduces the industrial context by exploring the manufacture of pet medicine from the problem to production of the final product.


Extracting the active ingredient

Science topic: Materials
Type of enquiry: Problem solving
Keywords: Laboratory, scientist, texture, materials, crystals, separate, soluble, insoluble, dissolve, solution, reversible, sieve, filter, heat, evaporate, solid, liquid, gas, water vapour

The children face the challenge of separating crystals of salt from waste materials using dissolving and evaporating techniques.


Mixing the medicine

Science topic: Materials
Type of enquiry: Problem solving
Keywords: Laboratory, scientist, mixing, active ingredient, pharmaceutical industry

The focus of the session is tablet production. Children grind the active ingredient and combine it with others, before moulding into a range of tablet shapes.


Testing the tablet shape

Science topic: Forces
Type of enquiry: Comparative/fair tests
Keywords: machinery, moulds, tools, science capital, fair test, variables, water resistance, repeat tests, reliability

The children investigate the effects of a range of tablet shapes on ‘swallowing’ as they compare the speed at which different shapes travel through liquid.


Creating a coating

Science topic: Materials
Type of enquiry: Comparative/fair tests
Keywords: fair test, variables, laboratory, scientist, soluble, insoluble, dissolve, solution, reversible, solid, liquid, gas, coating

The final activity looks at planning and carrying out a fair test to delay dissolving in the mouth.


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Gatsby Charitable Foundation Supported by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.