Put a Heart Health Spin on Valentine's Day
February is American Heart Month. While our physical hearts don't look anything like Valentine's Day decorations, February is a great month to explore heart health with students. Two free Science Buddies Lesson Plans help teachers introduce circulatory system concepts to elementary-age kids with hands-on classroom activities.
Comprehensive Lesson Plans Help Make the Heart Health Connection
It may be hard to keep students interested in lectures about diet and exercise, but fun, hands-on STEM classroom activities can get students actively involved in learning about the benefits of a heart-healthy lifestyle! Two NGSS-aligned lesson plans from Science Buddies help students not only understand the biology of the human heart but also make the connection between lifestyle choices and heart health.
Lesson Plan: Make and Use a DIY Stethoscope
In the Measuring Heart Rate with Your Own Stethoscope activity, students work in teams to build simple stethoscopes and then use them to learn how heart rate is affected by exercise. With this easy-to-follow lesson plan, teachers introduce important concepts, including: What are organs? What are the functions of the heart and blood? How do we measure heart rate? After students collect heart rate data, creating bar graphs on the printable worksheets helps them make conclusions about what exercise does for the heart.
Tip: The Measuring Heart Rate with Your Own Stethoscope Lesson Plan contains a worksheet for use during the activity and an assessment quiz.
Lesson Plan: Modeling Blood Flow
In the Modeling Blood Flow activity, students create model arteries to mimic blood flow through the body and see firsthand the differences in blood flow between healthy arteries and plaque-clogged arteries. This complete lesson plan lets teachers and students explore the purpose of the circulatory system and how disease can affect it. With data collected from their model, students can make connections between living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy circulatory system.
Tip: The Modeling Blood Flow Lesson Plan contains a video introduction that can optionally be shown to students (or assigned with Google Classroom) before the in-class experiment, a worksheet for use during the activity, and an assessment quiz.
Helping Teachers Make NGSS Connections
Both of the heart health lesson plans described above are NGSS-aligned to help teachers meet the following Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectation:
- 4-LS-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival growth behavior, and reproduction.
(Note: A chart showing the relevant aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning appears on the Summary tab of each lesson plan.)
For more information about Science Buddies Lesson Plans, see Lesson Plans Help Teachers Put Hands-on Science on the Calendar and New NGSS Lesson Plans. View all Science Buddies Lesson Plans here.
More Good-for-You Science
Are your students hooked on heart science? They can continue their explorations with these project ideas:
- A Day in the Life of Your Heart
- Heart Rate Recovery Times
- Heart Health: How Does Heart Rate Change with Exercise?
- Modeling the Human Cardiovascular System: The Factors That Affect Blood Flow Rate
Take a look at our Healthy Living collection for even more projects related to nutrition and exercise.