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In Australia, primary schools grades 3 and 4 are combined in one class (3-4), as is grades 5 and 6 (5-6). To set up the outreach I made direct contact via email with the Assistant Principal. She connected me with the physical education (PE) teacher. Together, the PE teacher and I planned the event. Over the course of two days, I taught four classes of 3-4 graders, and four classes of 5-6 graders for a total of 177 students. All classes were held in the gymnasium and on the playground track. I started each lesson with asking “Does anyone know what a physiologist is”? The most common answer was “A Physiotherapist” which is called a physical therapist in the US. The Scientific Method was described and explained. A hypothesis was designed, “Exercise Increases Heart Rate”- and a testing method in which students would measure their heart rates, run for two laps, and measure their heart rates again. After data collection students were urged to report their data using the format “My resting heart rate was # beats per minute and my post exercise heart rate was # beats per minute”. The students all agreed their data had supported their hypothesis. We discussed heart function and explained why heart rate increases with exercise. Students then were given pedometers and calibrated them by walking 20 paces. The students performed their next experiment by estimating how many steps it would take to walk around the track. After completing the walk they then made predictions of the number of steps running around the track would be higher or lower. They performed this experiment successfully and understood why fewer steps were needed when running due to a longer stride. Note: Make sure to check with the teacher and/or students to determine if any preexisting medical conditions will preclude the student from the activity.
Life Science Teaching Resource Community
The American Physiological Society
Halpin, PA (2016). A PhUn Week Incursion in Australia Teaches 3-4 and 5-6 Graders Exercise Physiology-PhUn Week Poster Session EB16. Life Science Teaching Resource Community, A Partnership of Life Science Organizations. Retrieved from http://www.lifescitrc.org/resource.cfm?submissionID=10965
This resource was published by The American Physiological Society in Life Science Teaching Resource Community in 2016. Available online: https://www.lifescitrc.org/resource.cfm?submissionID=10965