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Name of Activity:

Smoking Aerobics

Purpose of Activity:

The purpose of this activity is to show how smoking tobacco affects a person's everyday physical activity.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Straws, steps for aerobics, pulse meters or stethoscopes (styrofoam cups can be used as stethoscopes) cotton balls, rubber band, sandwich bag, "Live Tobacco Free" worksheet questions which are included in the description.

Description of Idea

I. Step Aerobics: Do a ten minute step aerobic routine with the students. Any routine will do, as long as it is rigorous and gets their heart rate up

II. Using the stethoscopes have the students check their heart rate. Anything can be used to help them understand that their heart rate has gone up

III. Discussion: Have the students fill out the first two questions on the worksheet, which are provided next.

  1. Write any two factors you know about smoking.
  2. Write down your two most favorite physical activities.

IV. Mind Map what the students answered for question one and discuss. Each student can come up and write their own answer on the board.

V. Smoking Aerobics: Each student needs a straw and a step. They will do the same exact aerobics routine from the beginning of class. The difference is they will be using straws to breath in and out. The straws represent how a smoker feels when doing physical activity. (Note: Please be careful with this portion of the lesson for safety reasons. Make sure students are very careful with the straw as they do this).

VI. Have the students check their heart rate again to see if there is a difference compared to the first time

VII. Finish worksheets by answering question three and four which are provided next.

3. Write two feeling words you experienced when doing aerobics while breathing through the straw
4. How can smoking affect your two favorite physical activities you wrote down in question two?

Discuss answers as a class.

Submitted by Ralph D'Angelo Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 6/3/2010.
Viewed 191616 times since 8/24/2001.

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Smoking Aerobics

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Let others know how this idea went when you implemented/tried it with your kids. Include any variations, suggested teaching tips, positive comments, etc. so others can benefit from your tips. Please be helpful and positive with all comments. Look below to see all posted comments.



Previous Comments:


I actually posted this in 1998 when I was in college. The sandwich bags, rubber bands and cotton balls were suppose to used as a cheap way to demonstrate how the lungs work. I think that part got lost when the information got transferred. Either way that idea is pretty much obsolete with today's technology. As far as running around with straws, not a good idea which is why I suggested doing step aerobics. Simply marching or jogging in place would do the trick as well. This is a pretty easy 15-20 minute demonstration of the effects of smoking on the lungs. Hopefully I cleared up any questions. Pretty funny that this thing is still on the site, lol.


Fantastic idea, I think people should take the ideas and adapt them to their own students, rather thank being so critical. Post after you have adapted the lesson, would be more beneficial. It is no wonder people are reluctant to post their ideas on line


Middle schoolers running around with straws in their mouths sounds like a disaster waiting to happen!


i think the straw, cotton balls, rubberband, and sandwich bags are different ways to show how difficult it is to breath after doing the aerobic routine. i dont see any other use for these items. i will only use the straw.


Nor the rubber band!!! What are these items for?

I understand the goal of the activity, but if those items enhance the goals of the lesson, I want to know how!!!


I think this is a great idea and I will plan on using it this year for middle schoolers...thanks for your help!

Ami LaDuc

I can't figure out what the cotton balls and sandwich bag are for?

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