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Heart and Lungs

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, Barbara Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

Let's Talk About It

After discussing the questions above, tell the students that they are going to investigate their breathing and pulse (or heart) rates after physical activity. 

Have one member of each team run in place for one minute and sit down. Have their partners determine their breathing rates again. Older students should repeat this procedure three times. Then, let the students switch jobs and repeat the process. This step should be teacher-directed for younger students.

Draw two large grids for class graphs on chart paper or on the board. Label one grid “Heartbeats Per Minute” and the other “Breaths Per Minute.” Lines on the vertical axis should be 6 cm apart. Lines on the horizontal axis should be approximately 12 cm apart. 

Make sure students understand that they were able to quantify their heart rates by counting the tiny surges of blood moving through an artery.

Using blue for resting rate and red for active rate, have students write their names and rates on the appropriate cut-outs. Tape students’ cut-outs on the appropriate class graphs OR help each student position his or her cut-outs on the graphs.

Ask, Where are most of the blue hearts on the graph? How about the red hearts? Where are the blue lungs? The red lungs? How does exercise affect a person’s breathing rate? Heart rate? Help students notice that heart and breathing rates change together.

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Numbers: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education