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Teacher: Tom Winiecki who teaches at Mott Road Elementary School in Fayetteville, NY. Tom Winiecki can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: Heart Rate Monitor Graphing

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To show our students how specific exercises/activities result in different heart rates. We also use this activity to begin to teach them how they could modify their activity to reach a target heart rate zone.

Suggested Grade Level: 3-8

Materials Needed: Heart rate monitors, Equipment for 12 different stations, Lap top computers, Excel Handout (see below)

Heart Rate Monitor Graphing

We set up a set of lap top computers (10-15) in the gym in one corner. These are loaded with a pre-set spreadsheet that allows the students to enter their heart rates from each station in the gym.

The class is divided up into groups of 4. They all rotate through 10 stations in the gym; spending 2-3 minutes at each station.

One student in each group wears a colored vest. This student goes to a lap top computer and enters his/her heart rate after each station.

At the end of class, each of these students gets a graph of their heart rates from all of the stations for that day's class. A "target zone" is superimposed over their bar graph's data.

These students now must answer questions related to their own results:
1. How many stations did you hit the target range?
2. Why did some stations hit the target and others did not?
3. What would you do differently to make your heart rate at a specific station change to hit this zone?
4. Were all of the stations designed to hit the target zone? If not, why not?

For the next class, a different person in their group wears the colored vest, until everyone has a chance to create their own heart rate graph; usually 4 class periods.


Keep the themes of each station constant. One station may target the lower body. If you change the activity, keep it based on the lower body. Now the students can compare different activities targeting the same area of the body. They can compare say, jumping rope to pushing a partner on a scooter. They can see that both activities work the lower body. They can now make a judgement as to whether they both get them into the target zone, or not.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

The students that don't use the lap tops each class still record their heart rates on a card that they keep each class. This allows them to compare heart rate results from one class to the next. They can see if they need to speed up (heart rate was below the target range), stay the same speed (their heart rate did hit the target range last time), or slow down (their heart rate was above the target range). Even though they didn't make a graph that class, they can still learn from their own data.

Below is the Excel spreadsheet. As the kids enter their heart rates into the spreadsheet, these numbers automatically appear in the graph that is in the second sheet in the spreadsheet (labeled "chart 1"). A target heart rate range is superimposed over the graph, so it is easy for the students to see their heart rates in relation to the target range.

Heart Rate Spreadsheet (Right click on link to download if you wish. It is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet)

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Posted on PEC: 1/3/2008 and has received 66 votes.

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How do you distribute/store your heart rate monitors?

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