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Every Beat Of Your Heart

  • Lesson
  • 1
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Data Analysis and Probability
Location: Unknown

This activity involves taking a pulse, collecting and interpreting data, making predictions, and drawing conclusions. Its focus is the collection and analysis of data.

Note: For this activity, students will need enough room to walk and run.

Begin the class with a discussion about heart rates and pulse. Ask students to share what they already know about each. Students might also offer ideas about what kinds of activities affect the heart rate.

Distribute a copy of the Every Beat of Your Heart Activity Sheet to each student.

pdficonEvery Beat of Your Heart Activity Sheet 

Have the students read the introductory statement, which defines heart rate and explain how it is determined by taking the pulse.

Demonstrate how a pulse it taken. As the students work individually or in small groups, have them take their resting pulse for one minute.

770 pulse

Before beginning the exercises on the activity sheet, students should predict which activity will result in the greatest pulse:

  • Being at rest
  • Stepping up and down
  • Walking
  • Running in place

Students should explain their predictions.

Next have the students step up and down on a stair, or just march, for one minute.

Have the same students determine their one-minute heart rates after running in place for one minute and after walking for one minute. Students should record their results on question 1 of the activity sheet.

Have the students complete the remaining questions (2‑6) on the activity sheet and discuss the responses.

An answer key is provided for you to check student responses on the activity sheet.

pdficonEvery Beat of Your Heart Answer Key 


Lisa M. Passarello and Francis (Skip) Fennell, "IDEAS: Every Beat of Your Heart." The Arithmetic Teacher, 39, 1 (February 1992) 32-39.


  1. Record one classroom chart the students' heart rates at rest and after the various forms of exercise. Discuss the class's range of heart rates at rest and after exercise.
  2. Students can use any of the following people of this experiment:  yourself, a friend, an older person, a younger person, a parent, a teacher, your principal. They should have three people run in place for one minute and then count their heartbeats for one minute. Have students answer the following:

    a. Which person had the most heartbeats? How many?

    b. What range of heartbeats was recorded?

    c. What conclusion can you draw form your experiment?

  3. Move on to the next lesson, What's the Beat?
Data Analysis and Probability

What's the Beat?

In this activity, students use the average adult's number of heartbeats per minute to predict how many times the heart would beat during various lengths of time. The students also draw conclusions on the basis of information about the human heart rate and that of other animals.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Collect, organize, and interpret data, including making predictions, involving the heart rate at rest and after exercise.

NCTM Standards and Expectations

  • Design investigations to address a question and consider how data-collection methods affect the nature of the data set.
  • Collect data using observations, surveys, and experiments.

Common Core State Standards – Practice

  • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP5
    Use appropriate tools strategically.
  • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP6
    Attend to precision.