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Elementary school students are eager to learn and perform science experiments. Providing an explanation of the cardiovascular system is a great way to demonstrate how the systems of the body work together. Most of students have measured their heart rate in physical education class and they understand the concept of breathing rate. However they are unfamiliar with the concept of blood pressure. In order to tie these three concepts together an introductory lecture was given via a SMART Board on the physiology of the heart and lungs with the concept of blood pressure introduced. As a group a hypothesis was designed for our experiment; heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure increase after exercise. To test the hypothesis the students measured their breathing rate. Then using wrist blood pressure and heart rate monitors they were able to obtain their blood pressure and heart rate. Working in pairs the class exercised on the playground for five minutes and took their post exercise breathing rate, heart rate and blood pressure. On the second day of PhUn week the class analyzed their data. Integrating their fourth grade math curricula they determined the mean, mode and median of the rates before and after exercise. They concluded they had proven their hypothesis. They completed their lab reports and passed them in for a grade to their classroom teachers. To determine the effectiveness of the learning activity the students completed pre and post tests. There was an increase in understanding of the concept of blood pressure. Also that blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate went up after exercise. When asked Why do we need math to help explain (analyze) our data? The most common answers were to prove that our hypothesis was right and to convince others. The most common answer to What did you like most about PhUn week ? was exercising outside and using the heart rate blood pressure monitors.
Life Science Teaching Resource Community
The American Physiological Society
Halpin, P. (2012) Getting Fourth Graders Excited about the Cardiovascular System-Phun Week Poster Session EB 2012 R7687. Life Science Teaching Resource Community, A Partnership of Life Science Organizations. Retrieved from http://www.lifescitrc.org/resource.cfm?submissionID=7687
This resource was published by The American Physiological Society in Life Science Teaching Resource Community in 2012. Available online: https://www.lifescitrc.org/resource.cfm?submissionID=7687