Students Put Their Fingers On The Pulse in 6th Grade Science

MB sixth graders have been studying homeostasis and human body systems. On a recent warm fall day, they were able to head outside for an activity called “Heart Rate & Homeostasis” to do a variety of physical activities (some very active, some very still) to measure their bodily response.

“We were testing how the body maintains homeostasis (equilibrium) when the environment is changing,” says science teacher Tony McClellan. “As the body moves, stops moving, or changes position, the muscles require changing amounts of oxygen so the heart rate shifts to meet the demand. The lab was a chance to see how their heart rate responded to a change in activity and position.”

The activity required the students to record their pulse every minute for 18 minutes, each measurement having its own activity prompt. Examples include sitting still, medium walk, sitting still, quick walk, another quick walk, standing still, slow walk, sit in “airplane crash” position (head down), stay in head down position, slow walk, fast walk, standing still, sitting still…

Each short round the students recorded their heartbeats for over 30 seconds the next day, using Excel to create a data table and graph of their data to analyze the shifting heart rate.