Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Heart Throbs

Laurie Ayers
Bay District Schools


Students predict what might happen to their pulse rates after physical exertion and then make conclusions about the effects of physical activity on pulse rates.


The student designs experiments to answer class or personal questions, collects information, and interprets the results using statistics (range, mean, median, and mode) and pictographs, charts, bar graphs, circle graphs, and line graphs.

The student knows how personal health behaviors influence individual well-being.

The student knows activities that promote a faster heart rate.


-Alcohol wipes
-Productivity tool software capable of creating graphs, such as Tom Snyder's Graph Club or Excel
-Computer and printer
-Paper and pencils
-Heart Throbs Chart (download from Associated File)


1. Gather stethoscope and alcohol wipes.
2. Set up the computer/printer with appropriate software for creating graphs.
3. Download Heart Throbs Chart from the Associated File. Make an overhead transparency and enough copies for each of your students.


1. Explain that the human heart is an involuntary muscle located a little to the left of the center of the chest. It pumps blood throughout our bodies in our arteries and veins. Keeping our hearts healthy is important. Ask students if they have ever -listened to- or have been aware of their heart's pumping. Discuss.

2. Set aside intervals of time to take a stethoscope and allow students to listen to their hearts, making sure the earpieces are cleaned with alcohol before passing it on.

3. Explain that there are places on our bodies where arteries are close to the skin and we can actually feel the blood being pumped, such as our wrists or below our jawbone.

4. Model for the students how you can take your pulse by putting the first two fingers of one hand on the inside of the wrist of the other hand, just below the thumb. To find pulse rate per minute, count the number of beats for 10 seconds, then multiply by six. The final number is your pulse rate.
5. Provide time for the students to try this. Have them write down their pulse rates on the Heart Throbs Chart (download from Associated File).

6. Ask students if they think their pulse rates are always the same. What might make the pulse go higher or lower? Discuss. Suggest they do an experiment.

7.Divide the class into three groups. The first group will jog in place for one minute, the second group will do jumping-jacks for one minute, and the third group will sit down and read for one minute. Encourage students to make predictions as to what might happen to their pulse rates as a result of the activities. Write them down. On signal, all three groups begin their activities and continue for one minute. When time is up, students take their pulses for one minute. Record results on the Heart Throb Chart.

8. Using a computer program such as The Graph Club, graph the numbers and print the graphs. Help students conclude that physical activity makes the heart beat faster, and that physical exercise is important for a strong, healthy heart. Ask students to write a short paragraph to summarize what they have learned.


Written summaries are assessed on a mastery or nonmastery basis according to whether or not the students' paragraphs:
a) identify specific physical activities that make the heart beat faster and
b)conclude that physical exercise is important for a strong, healthy heart.
Their Heart Throb Chart is evidence of further investigation into what affects pulse rate.


1. All students jog in place one minute, then take their pulses for one minute. Record results. Make graphs to compare boys' heart rates with girls' heart rates.
2. Students can take the pulses of family members and graph them.
3. Students can compare their own heart rate for different work as recorded on their Heart Throbs Chart.

Attached Files

Heart Throbs Chart     File Extension: pdf

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