Manipulatives for Preparing & Measuring Dosage

About these tools:

These virtual manipulatives provide learners an opportunity to "prepare" the medication to administer after completing a dosage calculation task.

After completing a dosage task, learners can select the most appropriate tool/vehicle, "fill" or prepare the correct amount to administer, and provide additional details pertinent to the dosage order (i.e. medication strength and amount being administered).

By doing so, learners connect dosage calculations provided "on paper" to the tools and reasoning processes they might experience in clinical practice.

Instructor Notes:

I usually provide a link or QR code to these tools with the dosage calculation task on a quiz or other assignment.

Students submitting their work for a quiz take a screen shot of the tool, or use a smart phone or other device to take a picture to submit with their assignment.

Students can also type their last name in the text box (after entering the amount to administer or medication strength) to reduce the potential for sharing screen shots/pictures.

Additionally, these tools can be used by an instructor to create "pre-filled" amounts for in-class problems or quizzes. For example, an instructor can "fill" a syringe, take a screen shot, and include the picture with a problem. This is especially useful for tasks that prompt students to "confirm a colleague's work" and/or "identify the error" in one's reasoning or calculation processes.

After calculating the rate for a continuous IV infusion with a manual / gravity set up, learners can "set" the drop per minute rate using this virtual tool. If on a device with a touchscreen, users can swipe up and down to adjust the roller clamp. Users with a track pad or mouse can click and drag up and down to adjust the roller clamp.

The numbers on the roller clamp are designed to assist instructors for discussing and assessing the various rates. A textbox is provided for students to enter the result of their calculation.

The virtual syringe cart provides learners an opportunity to select the correct syringe to complete a given order. Each syringe can be manipulated ("filled") to the appropriate amount. Individuals can also use the text boxes provided to enter the strength of the medication (e.g. "4 mg per mL") and the amount that they measured to administer (e.g. "45 units" or "2.8 mL")

After completing an oral dosage calculation, learners can "prepare" the number of tablets to administer using this virtual tool. Individuals can select the correct form (whole or scored tablets) and enter the strength of the medication (e.g. "50 mg per tablet").

After completing an oral suspension dosage calculation, learners can "prepare" the volume to administer using this virtual tool. Individuals can "fill" the cup to the appropriate amount, enter the strength of the medication (e.g. "50 mg per mL"), and state the amount to be administered (e.g. "2 Tablespoons").

Pictures and Animations for Creating IV Tasks

These IV bag pictures can be used to create IV dosage calculation tasks.

The link above includes pictures of following IV bags:

  • NS: 1000 mL, 500 mL, 250 mL, 100 mL, 50 mL, 25 mL
  • 1/2NS: 1000 mL, 500 mL, 250 mL, 100 mL, 50 mL, 25 mL
  • D5W: 1000 mL, 500 mL, 250 mL, 100 mL
  • D10W: 1000 mL, 500 mL, 250 mL, 100 mL, 50 mL, 25 mL
  • Lactated Ringer's: 1000 mL, 500 mL
  • Generic Bags (No Labels): 1000 mL, 500 mL, 250 mL, 100 mL, 50 mL, 25 mL

These IV tubing pictures can be used to create IV dosage calculation tasks.

The link above includes pictures of following IV tubing sets:

  • 10 gtt/mL
  • 15 gtt/mL
  • 20 gtt/mL
  • 60 gtt/mL

This IV pump screen applet can be used to create IV dosage calculation tasks. For example, instructors could include a picture of the pump with values entered for the volume to be infused (VTBI) and infusion time. Students could then be asked to calculate the rate that aligns with the provided information.

A link to this applet could also be included with dosage task for students to enter a summary of their completed work. This would mirror students "setting" the IV pump following their calculations.

These animated .gif files illustrate the repeated action of a drop falling in a drip chamber at various speeds. They provide a quick and easy way to incorporate the concept of infusion rates into a dosage task or activity

Instructors can embed these animations in presentations (e.g. Powerpoint or Google Slides), in a discussion board, as an item in a Learning Management System, and in many other places that allow embeddable .gif files.

Desmos Manipulatives and Activities

About the tools:

Desmos (https://www.desmos.com/) is a free, online graphing calculator with a number of great resources for engaging learners in mathematics.

The artifacts below were created in Desmos, which means they are easy for anyone to access, manipulate, and share.

Similar to the manipulatives above, learners can adjust the syringes and roller clamp to align with their dosage calculation result. Instructors can also use these tools to create "pre-filled" syringes or a "pre-set" roller clamp.

Once adjusted and when you're to share your syringe or roller clamp, click the share button in the top-right of the screen. You can then copy/paste a link to the item, or you can print it, export it as an image, or embed it in a Learning Management System or presentation.

These items/artifacts can also be copied and pasted into Desmos teacher-created activities (see below more more information).

This is a 1 mL syringe for learners to manipulate to an appropriate amount.

Once filled, the syringe can be easily shared by copying/pasting the link or saving it as an image.

This is a 3 mL syringe for learners to manipulate to an appropriate amount.

Once filled, the syringe can be easily shared by copying/pasting the link or saving it as an image.

This is a roller clamp for learners to manipulate to an appropriate drop per minute (gtt/min) rate.

Once set to their desired infusion rate, the roller clamp can be easily shared by copying/pasting the link or saving it as an image.

This is a medicine cup for learners to manipulate to an appropriate amount of medication.

Once filled, the cup can be easily shared by copying/pasting the link or saving it as an image.

Desmos Guided Activities

Safe dosage activity to use with nursing students. In this activity, students will be given an order for a patient and must decide whether or not the order is safe. They will then need to determine how much of the medication to administer to the patient. Lastly, students must decide how they will give the medication to the patient.

This Desmos activity can be run as a synchronous or asynchronous activity.

Instructors would need to create a teacher account with Desmos to run this activity (you can log in with a Google Account)

You can learn more here: https://teacher.desmos.com/

This Desmos activity was created to prompt students to reflect on a client's Medication Administration Record before performing any calculations. This activity asks participants to estimate the amount of medication, prepare a virtual syringe, label an IV pump, and confirm that their colleague set an infusion rate appropriately.

This Desmos activity can be run as a synchronous or asynchronous activity.

Instructors would need to create a teacher account with Desmos to run this activity (you can log in with a Google Account)

You can learn more here: https://teacher.desmos.com/

The purpose of this Desmos activity is to help students (1) connect gtt/min calculations with the actual tools and equipment they would experience in a clinical situation; and (2) practice calculating infusion rates (gtt/min) through scaling.

This Desmos activity can be run as a synchronous or asynchronous activity.

Instructors would need to create a teacher account with Desmos to run this activity (you can log in with a Google Account)

You can learn more here: https://teacher.desmos.com/

Additional Tools for Connecting Math & Nursing Concepts

This tool guides learners through the process of measuring gravity flow rates. Using the timer provided, users count the number of drops that fall over 15 seconds, and then multiply by a covarying factor of 4 to calculate the equivalent infusion rate in drops per minute (gtt/min).

This interactive tool includes four different flow rates for users to practice the calculation process.

Please check back soon for additional tools...