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O'Malley, Paul Senn Metro Academy
To understand and determine the pulse rate;
To compare the pulse rate before and after exercise;
To use pulse rate recovery time as a measure of fitness;
To approximate a measurement of lung capacity;
To compare lung capacities of males and females, active and inactive;
To learn how to take and compare blood pressure readings.
Clock or watch with second hand, wet spirometer, if available, round
balloons, string, meter sticks, sphygmomanometers and stethoscopes.
1. Discuss the meaning of pulse and pulse rate. Show students how to
take the pulse rate in wrist, neck or temple. Time the students as
they count their pulse for 30 seconds. Have the students multiply the
30 second pulse rate by two, record the number of beats in 60 seconds.
Repeat two more times, and record the average in a data table.
2. Have the students work in pairs, with one taking and recording the
pulse, and the other acting as subject. Have the subject stand up and
sit down twice every 5 seconds for 3 minutes. Immediately take the
pulse for 15 seconds, multiply by 4, and record the post-test rate.
After 15 seconds, take another 15 second pulse rate, compute and
record the one minute pulse rate in a data table as the 30 second
recovery rate. After another 15 seconds rest, take another 15 second
pulse, and record the 1 minute recovery rate. Wait 45 seconds, take a
final 15 second pulse, and record the 2 minute recovery rate.
Scoring Your Pulse Rates
Rates Good Satisfactory Fair to poor
Resting rate 44-62 64-80 82-100
Post test rate 80-100 104-134 136-156
Recovery rate 64-84 88-116 118-140
Recovery rate 56-76 78-108 110-132
Recovery rate 56-76 78-108 110-132
3.Discuss student scores, using analysis questions.
4. Define vital capacity, the maximum volume of air that can be
exhaled forcibly following the deepest possible inhalation. Also,
define the lung volumes that add up to the vital capacity: tidal
volume, inspiratory reserve volume, and expiratory reserve volume.
As you define each term, demonstrate it with a spirometer. If a
spirometer is not available, demonstrate how it would be measured
by exhaling in the manner appropriate for each volume. Discuss the
range of average values, and the factors which influence these values.
(The average adult male vital capacity ranges between 2.8 and 5.5 L.)
5. Have students compare their vital capacities, males vs. females,
athletic students vs. non-athletic. Have students inflate a round
balloon with the maximum amount of air that can be exhaled after a
forcible inhalation. Measure the circumference of the balloon at the
widest point by wrapping a string around it and measuring the length of
the string. Have each student record his measurement in a data table
on the board, with separate columns for males, athletic and not, and
for females, athletic and not.
6. Discuss the results and the analysis questions that apply.
7. Define blood pressure, systolic and diastolic. Develop the
concepts by questioning the students about the cause and function of
8. Show the sphgmomanometer, describe the parts, and demonstrate how
to use it. Have students answer handout sheet on the steps in using
9. Have students practice taking their lab partner's blood pressure
and record the results on the board.
10. Discuss hypertension, variables affecting blood pressure, average
and normal values.
11. Have students plan and execute experiments affecting blood
pressure or pulse rate, such as: running in place, isometric exercise,
breathing into a bag, holding the breath. or submerging one hand in
1. Account for the pulse change with exercise.
2. Why is a slower pulse rate considered better than a fast one?
3. Why would a rapid recovery rate be a sign of fitness?
4. What are some variables that determine lung capacities?
5. How could you account for the different lung vital capacities in
6. What is normal blood pressure for your age? How does your blood
pressure compare to your classmates' blood pressure? Explain.