Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What's Up, Doc?

Kathy Kelly


Students create and then participate in a fitness program designed to improve their cardiovascular fitness. Students document the benefits of participation in the fitness program in their journals.


The student organizes information before writing according to the type and purpose of writing.

Demonstrates ability to research, conduct and evaluate a long term project or experiment.

The student knows how to use a journal to document the benefits of participation in physical activity as part of an individual wellness plan.

The student knows how to sustain an aerobic activity, maintaining target heart rate, to achieve cardiovascular benefits.

The student knows how aerobic activity differs form anaerobic activity.

The student plans and participates in an individualized fitness program.

The student analyzes the results of fitness assessments to guide changes in a personal fitness program.

The student achieves and maintains appropriate cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, muscular strength, endurance, and body composition.


-Heart rate monitors
-Pencil and paper
-Equipment for exercises, if needed


Gather research materials for students to use in developing their fitness programs.


Prior Knowledge
-Students should understand the difference between aerobic and anaerobic activities. (See In the Presence of Oxygen for a possible lesson plan to use.)
-Students should know and apply the FIT formula and the Karvonen formula.

Background Information:
Aerobic means in the presence of oxygen. Aerobic exercise is exercise in which the body can supply enough oxygen to the muscles for a long period of time; e.g., running, swimming, biking. In anerobic exercise, there is an absence of oxygen. Anerobic exercise is performed with great intensity; the body can't supply enough oxygen to the working muscles; e.g., sprinting, jumping.

The FIT formula:
F = frequency (three times a week)
I = intensity (50-80% of maximum heart rtate)
T = time (at least 20-40 minutes)

The Karvonen Formula:
Target Rate during exercise = 220 - age - resting heart rate (RHR) x workout rate (50-80% of maximum heart rate) + RHR

Students create a fitness program designed for sustained aerobic activity that will help participants achieve cardiovascular benefits. Using their knowledge to calculate and maintain a target heart rate, students document heart rate before, during, and after exercise in order to determine whether or not changes need to be made to the program.

Authentic Context:
You are a doctor with a patient who has a bad heart. You must devise a set of aerobic activities that will maintain your patientís target heart rate so he or she can get in good shape.

1. Brainstorm and discuss with students the benefits of exercise, e.g., live longer, burn fat, improve self-esteem, lose weight, feel better, stronger heart, muscles, and bones.

2. Have students calculate their resting heart rate (RHR) by timing their heart rate for ten seconds and multiplying by six to calculate the beats per minute.

3. Divide class into groups of two. One student will take the role of the doctor, one student will take the role of the patient. The doctor will determine the patientís target heart rate using the Karvonen formula. Together, they will select the aerobic activities in which the patient will participate. Students will work out a minimum of three times per week. Over the course of four weeks, students must use at least four different aerobic exercises.

4. Students will keep a weekly log of the patientís aerobic activities in their journals. In the journals, each student will list each activity, how often it is done, and the duration of each activity. The doctor will record the patientís heart rate before, during, and after each 20-minute low-impact aerobic activity.

5. At the end of four weeks, students should reflect on the cardiovascular benefits received from participating in aerobic activities.

6. If time permits, have students exchange roles and repeat the procedure for another four weeks.


Journal Criteria:
-contains a neat and organized record of aerobic activities in which the student participated
-includes the number of times and duration of each activity
-shows evidence of participation in at least four different aerobic exercises
-indicates the correct target heart rate for the patient
-contains records of the patientís heart rate before, during, and after the activity
-includes a reflection regarding the cardiovascular benefits of participating in aerobic activities

Self Reflection:
Describe the procedure for calculating target heart rate. How can a person gain cardiovascular benefits from exercise? Write an advertising jingle to convince others to participate in physical activities.

Look for the following elements in the journal:
-the aerobic activity was sustained for at least 20 minutes
-the target heart rate was calculated correctly
-appropriate cardiovascular benefits are listed
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