Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Beat Goes On

Diane Schmidt
Florida DOE


Students examine and collect data on the heart at work and rest.


The student conducts experiments to test predictions.


-Journals or computers with word processing program
-Stop watch
-Jump ropes
-Outside area for jumping and hula-hooping
-Heart Rate Data Sheet (See associated file)
-Rubric (See associated file)


1. Gather jump ropes and hula-hoops. Ask the PE teacher at your school. they may have these items and loan them to you.

2. Print Report Sheets for students.

3. Locate a spot for the class to use. Please note you can conduct the same experiment by having students jump in place next to their seats, and walk around the classroom or hallway if space is an issue.

4. Have computers set-up for students to create their entry as a word style document. Any word processing program can be used. If time does not allow, students can use the lines at the bottom of their data sheet to create their entry or use their journals. This can be a piece of notebook paper or a writing journal if the class uses one.

5. Locate a stopwatch. A watch with a second hand works just as well. The teacher will need to keep time for the students while they are taking pulses. Tell to start counting beats and to stop counting. This will provide a margin of consistency.


1. Review with students the heart and its functions by asking students to tell you how and why it works.

2. Ask students if they notice when the beat of their heart changes. Is it the same at P.E. as it is at lunch? Does it change when they get excited or scared or while they sleep?

3. Ask students to make a prediction based on why they think the heartbeat changes based on what they know about the heart and how it works.

4. Have the students review the predictions that were made.

5. Tell students that their pulse is how many times their heart beats in a given period of time. Explain that a pulse can be taken in many ways, but today they will be using either the pulse they can feel at the neck or the wrist. Show students how to take the pulse either at the wrist or the neck. Be sure to tell students they will need to use the same place each time they take a pulse. Remind students to pay close attention and count each beat.

6. Divide the class into groups. This will be done by the classroom teacher based on class size and available resources. Give each group a jump rope or a hula hoop.

7. Have students take their pulses. Using the data sheet, have students place the resting pulse rates on their sheets. Be sure both students do this before either one begins moving.

8. Have one student jump rope or hula hoop for two minutes. Use the stop watch to keep time. If there is no stopwatch available, a wrist watch or a wall clock with a second hand will work. The teacher will tell the students when to start and stop moving.

9. Have students stop and have the students take the pulses again. Tell the students to record this number next to the line marked hula-hoop or jump rope, depending on which item they used.

10. Have students switch and repeat the prior step.

11. Once both students have completed a round, have the groups switch items so that everyone gets to hula hoop and everyone gets to jump rope. Repeat the above activity until every student has a resting pulse rate, a jump roping pulse rate, and a hula hooping pulse rate.

12. Ask students why their heart beats got faster? What made it happen? How do they get it to slow down? And what was the heart doing while they were just standing and when they were moving?

13. Have students construct a journal entry using a word processing program describing their experiment and what part of their experiment caused their hearts to beat slowest, moderately, and fastest, and why. If time does not allow for the use of computers, a standard entry in a class writing journal or on a piece of paper can be used.

14. Create a class database in Excel or any other program used at your school that would facilitate students seeing how the data compares across the class.


-Complete assessment on this lesson by using the Heart Rate Data Sheet and the journal entry assessed by the rubric, both in the associated file.

-Entry has a resting, hula-hoop, and jump roping pulse rate.

-Entry has an accurate, written explanation for why the heart rate was slow, moderate, and fast.

Circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.


1. Contact the local American Heart Association and ask for a speaker to come into the classroom.
2. Create a data base in Excel for the heart rate data.
3. Participate in the Walk for Life campaign.
4. Contact a local hospital or rehabilitation facility for a tour or a speaker to come to class.
5. Have students create a healthy heart story listing why they should take care of their hearts.

Web Links

Web supplement for The Beat Goes On
ISTE NETS Standards

Attached Files

A Data Collection Sheet and Rubric for journal entry.     File Extension: pdf

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