Finding Heart Rate, Using Pedometers, and Recording Data in PE
Our grade 3 body systems unit is well under way here at Nanjing International School in China and is a perfect integration with what is happening back in their classroom. The students have been working on body systems since the beginning of the school year. We have been learning about the circulatory system in PE and I have given my students lots of opportunities to be able to take their own heart rate as well as the heart rate of their peers in class over the past few weeks.
Through our numerous class discussions, we were able to pinpoint three intensities of exercise and heart rate zones that correspond with each level of intensity. It was important for the students to understand these different levels of intensity and to also know the rough heart rate zones for each level of intensity. We broke exercise and heart rate into the following three categories:
Low Intensity: 80-120
Medium Intensity: 120-160
High Intensity: 160+
The above numbers are rough in nature and were meant to get them tuned into the idea that each level of exercise has a corresponding heart rate zone. The first couple of weeks of the unit I had planned a lot of different activities to get them moving and active. I showed them how to take their own heart rate and gave them ample opportunity to practice this skill a number of times. It took 2 classes before most or nearly all students could take their own heart rate.
We did this by using a very simple and easy to calculate 6-second formula. Using a stopwatch, I would get them to count the number of heart beats in 6 seconds. When I told them to stop counting all they had to do was add a zero giving them the rough number of beats in a minute. For example, if they had counted 12 heart beats in 6 seconds, by adding a zero they would come up with the number 120 beats in a minute. I chose this formula as it was easy for them and didn't take up too much time. Once they were quite confident at taking their own heart rates, I had them begin to practice on one another.
Once the students were quite competent at taking each other's heart rates, I introduced stopwatches. The students were put in pairs and allowed to create their own activity for each level of intensity of exercise. The first partner would use the stopwatch to measure off 6 seconds after their partner completed the activity. The partner without the stopwatch counted the number of beats in 6 seconds and added a zero giving them the number of beats in a minute. They would then switch so each person had a chance to use the stopwatch. This is what it looked like.
As an extension to the above stopwatch activity, I gave each of the students pedometers to clip on and have fun with. I allowed them to be active in whatever way that they wanted and to check out how many steps that they had taken. We talked about how the number of steps taken may increase or decrease depending upon how active they were. Seeing as the students were working on place value back in maths class, it was a perfect time to integrate this learning into our PE lesson. I created the visual that you see below to model how to record both heart rate and the number of steps taken on a place value chart. You can see the actual record sheet that the students used to the right of the chart paper.
I allowed the students to create their own activities that were either low, medium or high intensity. I wanted them to see exactly how to record the numbers using the place value chart seen below. Modeling this beforehand is essential and works well to prepare them for when the time comes to actually record it on their own. The following class I gave them their own record sheets and sent them off with their partners to create different activities and record their heart rates and the number of steps taken. Each group had their own stop watch. It was an excellent learning experience which stimulated lots of different discussion. The record sheets were given to the classroom teacher to use in maths class to create graphs based on the students' results. Maths integration in PE is