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20 October 2014
Schools  >> All subjects for ages 4 - 11 years Science Clips
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Science topics ages 9 - 10
Keeping healthy

Curriculum relevance | Online lesson plan
Offline lesson plan | Worksheet | Activity

Offline lesson plan


Know that the heart acts as a pump circulating blood around the body

Find out about the effects of exercise and rest on pulse rate and heart beat

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 2, Sc1, 2f, 2h, 2i, 2j, 2l; Sc2 2c, 2d

Wales: Key Stage 2, Life processes and living things, 2.4, 2,6, 2,7

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 2, Living things, Ourselves e

Scotland: 5-14 Guidelines, Science, The processes of life, Level C

Resources required

Six stopwatches or clocks with second hands

Chart for children to record data

Copies of Keeping healthy worksheet printed from the Science Clips website

Teaching activities

Recap on what the heart is (a muscle). What job does it do? (It acts like a pump to push blood around the body.) Why do the muscles in the body need blood? (They need oxygen to work.) Remind children how to take their pulse rate by placing finger next to tendon on wrist. Practise taking pulse rates by counting the beats for 30 seconds and doubling it to give a pulse rate in b.p.m. (beats per minute).

Tell the children they are going to measure their pulse rates when they are resting. Then they are going to jog for three minutes, and then they will measure their pulse every two minutes for fourteen minutes after the exercise. Ask children to predict when their heart rate will be fastest and when it will be slowest.

Divide the class into six groups, give each group a stopwatch and let them carry out the experiment. When they have finished, help each group convert their measurements to b.p.m. In talk partners, ask the children to answer the following questions. Were their predictions correct? How could they tell when their heart was beating faster (breathing more quickly, could feel heart beating faster)? When was their pulse rate higher? Why was it higher? Does your blood flow faster or slower around your body when you exercise? Why do your muscles need more blood during exercise (they need more oxygen because they are working harder)? Why does it take a while for your heart rate to slow down again after you have exercised? (The heart rate can only return to normal after all the waste products from increased respiration, e.g. carbon dioxide, have been expelled from the body.)

Go through the results of the experiments and the talk partner questions. What had happened to their pulse rate by the end of the experiment?


Do the children think the results would have been the same if a very fit athlete had carried out the same experiment? Why?

Suggested homework

Hand out copies of the Keeping healthy worksheet. Remind the pupils of what they did in the activity. Explain that the children must match the pulse rate to the right picture.


Resources for teachers

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