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

Heart and Lungs

The heart and lungs work together to supply all the tissues in the body with oxygen and other materials, and to carry away waste products, such as carbon dioxide. All the cells in our bodies need oxygen to carry out the reactions that release energy. Carbon dioxide, a waste product of this process, is manufactured inside cells when energy is released from sugars and other molecules.

Usually, when parts of the body require more oxygen (as during exercise), the lungs and heart respond by working faster. The lungs also take in more air, so that more oxygen can be ab­sorbed into the blood stream and transported to hard-working tissues.

We often measure heart rate by feeling the surge of blood after each heart beat at places on the body where arteries are near the surface of the skin (the wrist, for example). This recurrent surge is known as the pulse. The number of pulses per minute usually is referred to as pulse rate (heart beats per minute). The average pulse rate for a child ranges from 60 and 120 beats per minute.


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932


Houston Endowment Inc.

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