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Science Experiment: Pulse and Heartbeat

Hi kids, parents, and teachers! Science projects and experiments can be fun. However, be sure to always have a parent or teacher supervising to make sure things are safe!

Purpose: To observe the pulsation of blood in the wrist. The heart beats to force blood through our bodies to carry oxygen and food to various cells. Oxygen is added back into the blood by the lungs and carbon dioxide is removed by the lungs. For more on the Heart and Repiratory system see Respiratory System for Kids and Blood and the Heart for Kids.

Materials Procedure
  1. Take a small amount of clay and make a ball.
  2. Insert the match into the ball and flatten the bottom of the clay.
  3. Turn your wrist over and locate your pulse on the thumb side of the wrist.
  4. Place the clay over your pulse moving it until the match starts to slowly vibrate.
  5. Using a stopwatch or clock with a second hand, count the number of vibrations that the match makes in one minute.
  6. Record the number of vibrations in your science journal.
  7. Repeat steps 5-6 two more times. Find your heart’s average number of beats.
  8. Repeat counting the number of vibrations in 15 seconds. Multiply number by four and record.
  9. Repeat counting the number of vibrations in 10 seconds. Multiply number by six and record.
  10. Compare your results with your group or class.
  11. Determine the average number of beats per minute for group and/or class.
  12. Determine the range.

Conclusion and Questions
  1. Why is the wrist a good place to take your pulse rate?
  2. Why does each student’s pulse rate vary?

Reference: NASA SciFiles

More Human Body Experiments
Smell - Experiment with the sense of smell.
Skin Temperature - How does our skin lower or raise our temperature?

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