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Teacher: Mark Housel who teaches at Bordentown Public Schools in Bordentown, NJ. Mark Housel can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Quest for the Broken Heart

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To teach students ways to keep their heart healthy.

Suggested Grade Level: K-12

Materials Needed: Paper, markers, envelopes for clues, lamination machine.

Quest for the Broken Heart

I usually do the "Quest for the Broken Heart" in February, which is Heart Smart Month. I started by making a huge heart (approx. 3' x 3'). I put a heart healthy message on the heart (e.g., "Take care of your heart and it will take care of you"). I then cut it into 5 pieces. On the back of each piece, there is information on a way to keep the heart healthy. For example the back of one of the pieces says:

It is important to exercise to keep your heart healthy. Exercising 30 minutes every day of the week is recommended. Biking, jogging, walking, roller blading, swimming, and playing basketball are just a few activities that are good for your heart.

Once the 5 ideas are put on the back of each piece of the heart, the entire heart is laminated. Now each piece is put in a different part of the school. I am a traveling health teacher, so I begin each Quest at the students classroom. There I give them Clue #1.

Galloping, hopping, skipping, jumping, we do this here to keep our hearts pumping.

Answer is: Exercise at the gym. So we go to the gym to find the first piece of the heart and Clue #2.

When staying heart smart, this will help a BUNCH. We do THIS HERE, when we eat our lunch.

Their answer - eat healthy foods in the cafeteria. So we visit the cafeteria to find our next piece of the heart.

Other heart smart concepts that are on the Quest talk about the dangers of smoking, saying NO to drugs, and getting plenty of rest. Besides the gym and the cafeteria, we visited our nurses office, the all purpose room and the music room. Some of the activities I had them do along the way was exercise, get a talk from the school nurse, learn how to take a pulse, and check heart rate. All in a 40 minute period.

At the end of the Quest, we return to their class where I always hide the last piece of the heart. We talk about what we learned on the Quest. Then the students put the heart back together again to get their heart smart message.

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Posted on PEC: 10/9/2001 and has received 59 votes.

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