Getting young learners tuned into the heart
I've moved into a Healthy Bodies unit with my grade 1 students over the last few classes. I've been getting them as active as possible in PE through various stations while focusing on the main question, What changes do you feel in your body when you exercise'. The students have come up with quite a few ways that their bodies change, but seem to all agree that it is their hearts that change the most. At this point in the unit, they understand that the heart beats faster while exercising.
Going into this week's lessons, my focus has become more fine tuned as I'm trying to get them zeroing in on the idea that we can describe exactly how are hearts feel while exercising or at rest. In order to get them thinking along these lines, I created the visual that you see below. In the visual I have 4 different clip art images of the heart. Each image represents a different stage of activity. When the kids came into the class today, I had them seated in front of me and showed them the visual. I then asked the following 2 questions.
On this poster, which heart do you think is working the hardest? and Why do you think so?
Most of the students thought that the image on the top left was the heart which was working the hardest. A couple felt it was the one on the top right, but after a couple minutes of discussion, they realized the hardest working heart was the one on the top left. We then discussed which was working second hardest, third hardest, and least hardest. I then asked them the following question:
When you come to my PE class, how do you think I want your heart to be working?
Once again, the majority agreed that it was the picture on the top left. We then quickly discussed what each heart might sound like. I gave them some ideas and then we agreed on the following: BOOM BOOM, THUMP THUMP, THUD THUD, and DUB DUB. I then set them off with the goal being to work as hard as possible to get themselves into the BOOM BOOM zone.
Every 3-4 minutes we took a quick break and came back in to have a look at the visual. I then asked them to point to which heart image represented their heart at that moment having just been super active. Once again, most pointed to the BOOM BOOM heart. As we had been putting our hands on our chest to feel the heart beating the previous couple of classes, I felt that they were ready to check their pulse by placing their fingers on the carotid artery on the side of the windpipe. I showed them how to do this and gave them some practice time. They were right into it, especially when they actually felt their own pulse. The look on some of their faces was priceless!
I then sent them off again being as active as possible, but brought them back together one last time a few minutes later. I asked them to see if they could count their heart beats by placing their finger on their neck as they had just learned. Most could do this which was amazing to see. A great end point to the class and launch point when they come back to see me in a couple days. Loved this class today. Looking forward to trying it out on my other grade 1 class tomorrow!