The heart rate lab is a classic Life Science activity for the circulatory system. It is also a fun way to collect data and to analyze results.
- Lab instructions handout (pdf)
- Excel spreadsheet with blank templates and 2 years of data (excel)
- the data is there, but you can erase those tabs if you don’t want to use the data
- Handouts if not using excel
- Online stopwatch (link)
Before starting the activity, have the students practice finding their pulses and counting. I find that they are more likely to feel their pulse on their neck (carotid) near their jaw.
For the lab, students will first get a baseline for their heart rate. They average their sitting and standing pulse and use that pulse to compare the other activities to. Each student will then make their own hypothesis, which activity will have the highest pulse? The lowest pulse?
Class management tip: We did each step of the lab together, and I kept time using the online stopwatch on the screen. That way, we were all jogging in place or doing jumping jacks at the same time.
Students recorded their data on to the excel spreadsheet and I collected and entered data onto my copy. Each student shared their data, one at a time, while the rest of us entered it. If you have google docs, you can add all data to the same shared Google Sheets.
The template that I have uploaded will automatically do the calculations for you and create a bar graph. You can turn that feature off, by deleting the formulas and graph, if you want students to learn how to use the formula for averages and create charts.
If you are having any issues with the excel sheet, or want to modify it, please reach out to your technology specialist for assistance.
For related lesson plans, please visit my Life Science page.