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    heart activities
    By Carolyn

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    I teach fifth grade. When we studied the circulatory system, I did an activity which incorporated math. It was practical and "hands-on". First, I showed the kids how to take their pulse and count the beats for 15 seconds. Then I handed out a table where they were to record measurements. I started the activity by explaining that we were going to do several activities which involve motion (standing) or sitting and we were going to record our heartbeat for the fifteen seconds immediately after we finished the activity.

    I started by having them record their heartbeat as they sat at their desk. I then had them predict if their heartrate would change if I turned off the lights. I had them take their pulse with the lights off. They concluded that it was slower. I asked them why this might have happened. They said that maybe they were more relaxed with the lights off. What happens when you are more relaxed. Probably our heart will slow down, they concluded. I had them stand up and see if there was a difference. We followed this up with walking around the room for one minute, and we finished with jumping jacks for one minute. By the end of the activity they concluded that their heart would beat faster when it was working harder with more physical activity and less relaxation.

    I also asked our school's nurse to come in. She brought in her stethoscope and blood pressure monitor. She has never been a teacher, but she did a really outstanding job of talking to the kids about their hearts and doing activities related to the heart.



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