October 24, 2007

Stupid Meter Tricks II

The Science Project

One of the days when my kids were kicked out of school, because the school was having hissy fit over D care a few years ago, I had them do some experiments on test strip coding.

We dug up strips with as far apart codes as we could find. (We use one touch ultra smart meters.)

Using control solution we tested strips at their code values.

We calculated the variance between strips.

We tool a little time to talk about this: with the same fake blood the number bounced around a little, so a few points here or there isn’t a big deal.

Next we tested with transposed values for example 7 for 20 and 20 for 7.

We calculated average results and compared to the correct code results.

We found that the average difference when miss coded was about 1 point on the meter for every code number off. So a 7 vs a 20 is about a 13 point difference.

131 vs 144 - No big.

Now a 2 vs a 40 with a result of 68 - is that 68 or 30 or 106. That is an issue.

This is a great little science experiment that you may want your kids to do when they are the right age to discover for themselves why coding matters. If they discover it, they may take it to more to heart and practice.

Part of the point was to learn something on a day when they weren’t in school. The lesson was similar to the one in Stupid Meter Tricks I. Part of the point was in part to de-mystify the meter. Part was a little more, in this case it was to get real about miss coding. It happens from time to time. Knowing how the meter works and what the expectations are for a variance in BG due to a coding error helps. There is a margin of error in everything we do, knowing when that is a significant issues and when it isn’t is an important lesson.

More Stupid Meter Tricks


  1. when you refer to coding, is that the number on the side of the strip container? why is it such a big deal to everyone? it is EXTREMELY easy!

  2. yeah it is easy. our younger kid had to have a different number each can because she like to code the meter.

    the point here is to try to understand what difference it makes