At the end of this lesson, each student will be able to do the following:
- Understand that a heartbeat represents the pumping action of the heart.
- Know the difference between resting and active pulse rates.
- Practice of health-enhancing behaviors
- Science standards: science in personal and social perspectives; life science
- Physical education standards: appreciation for the value of physical activity
- Red level: lesson 7, "Heart Healthy"
- Yellow level: lesson 7, "Heart Healthy"
- Blue level: lesson 6, "Crazy Hoops"
- Blue level: lesson 7, "Four Parts"
- body-The physical structure of a person. carotid artery-Artery in the neck that can be used to find a heart rate.
- pulse points-Different places on the body to find a heart rate.
- radial artery-Artery in the wrist area that can be used to find a heart rate.
- resting heart rate-The number of times the heart beats in a period of time while the person is at rest (sitting down).
You will need the following:
- Stethoscope or paper towel tube
- Turkey baster
- Alcohol wipes (optional)
- Figure 11.1, taking a pulse rate (one copy per student)
- Family Activity 5 for section 1, The Beat Goes Home (one copy per student)
- Two cups or containers, one with a small amount of water and one filled with water (optional)
An important part of fitness development is monitoring the pulse rate. A person can do this by finding pulse points where arteries are close to the body surface. At these points, the person can feel the heart pushing blood through the body. The pulse rate is the number of times the heart beats each minute. This rate changes with activity levels. When people are calm and relaxed, their pulse is slower, and this is their resting heart rate. When people are active, scared, or excited, their heart rate accelerates and beats faster, increasing their pulse rate.
Heart rates will vary among students. Most elementary school students have a pulse rate of 75 to 95 beats per minute. Generally, a boy’s pulse rate is lower than a girl’s. A lower rate usually indicates a more effective cardiovascular system. Heart rates change with age, from 120 beats in infancy to about 70 beats per minute by the age of 18.
1. Review the background information presented for this lesson with the class.
2. Demonstrate to students the location of the heart, slightly left of center in the chest area. Students can place their hand on their chest to try to detect a resting pulse rate. In many cases, the resting pulse rate will not be detected through the heart. After exercise, the beating pulse of the heart may be easier to locate in the chest.
3. To demonstrate the pumping action of the heart, use a turkey baster. Tell students, The heart is a muscle, and muscle contractions force blood out of the heart to the body. If students are unable to feel their heartbeat, you should have the students complete some exercises to raise their heart rate.
4. Tell students, You can open and close a hand until fatigue sets in to demonstrate the pumping action of the heart. Note that the heart keeps beating continuously, but opening and closing a hand results in fatigue. Therefore, the heart muscle must be very strong to keep working without stopping to rest.
5. Tell students, To find your pulse rate, place your index and middle fingers on your wrist (radial artery) or neck (carotid artery). Do not use the thumb. The pulse in your thumb may be strong enough to interfere with your count. Hold your fingers in place until you feel the steady beat of your pulse. (Show the students figure 11.1.) Pulse rates increase when you are active.
6. Have students complete some gentle stretching exercises (see "Stretching Routines" in the introduction to this book) for a few minutes and ask the students to find their pulse again. Ask students, Is your pulse slower by now?
7. Organize students into pairs of the same sex. Tell students, We can hear the pumping action of the heart by using a stethoscope or paper towel tube. Press the stethoscope or one end of the cardboard tube against your partner’s chest. Put your ear up to the other end and listen to the constant rhythm. The sound "lub-dub" can be heard. Count the heart rate. Every lub-dub equals one beat. Girls and boys should have a heart rate of about 80 beats per minute.
Ask students to check their pulse rates. Students should use a variety of methods to calculate the pulse rate, including counting for 6 seconds and multiplying by 10, or counting for 15, 30, 45, or 60 seconds.
Give each student a copy of Family Activity 5, The Beat Goes Home. This activity requires students to explain the concept of pulse rate to family members.