Student Activities

Your Target Heart Rate

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade


Students will jog on a nature trail and learn the importance of stretching and exercising in their target heart rate zone. The students will determine their pulse and maximum heart rate (MHR). The students will then determine their target heart rate (THR) zone by using their MHR and record their data. The students will then be put through a mild stretching exercise. Finally, the students will then participate in a jog along the trail to the end of the trail. 

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1.) Teacher Information Sheet

2.) Student Data Sheet

3.) Notebook, pen or pencil

4.) Stopwatch or Wristwatch (optional)

5.) Students should be wearing gym clothes and appropriate shoes


Student Task: The teacher will tell the students that they will each determine their own pulse, or heart rate, their predicted maximum heart rate, and their target heart rate zone. The teacher will then discuss what each briefly are and their importance in exercising. The teacher should then tell the students that they will be go on the trail for a jog but first they will be put through a light stretch to loosen themselves up. The teacher should discuss the general importance of stretching before exercising. After stretching the students will now go on the jog, at their own pace, along the desired trail or designated course. When asked by the students how hard do they need to run, a good idea for the teacher to tell the students that if they can jog and comfortably talk at the same time then they are not jogging hard enough, and if they get out of breathe very quickly then they are running too hard.

Student Instruction:

1.) The students will use a sheet of paper from their notebook to put their name, and other required identifying information on it.

2.) They should then be asked if they already know how to find their pulse, or heart rate. At this time the teacher will help those students who do not, find their pulse.

3.) They will then be asked to count the number of pulses while the teacher takes the stopwatch, or wristwatch, and counts off 15 seconds.

4.) The students should then take the number of pulses and multiply by four.

5.) On the sheet of paper they will write down that information.

6.) After the students have finished, the teacher should now discuss what the MHR is and its importance and give the students the formula to find their predicted MHR.

7.) The students will also figure out what their own MHR is and record that information on their sheet of paper.

8.) After doing so, the teacher will define what the THR zone is and its importance to exercising.

9.) The teacher will instruct the students how to find their THR zone by using their MHR.

10.) The students will then record that information on to their sheet of paper.

11.) The students will now be put through some light stretches led by the teacher that the teacher has chosen, preferably from the "Teacher Information Sheet".

12.) The students will then be told to carefully jog the trail or course, designated by the teacher, and at there on pace, but it must at least be a mild jog. Also before they begin their jog, they should be instructed as to where to the jog will end and that upon finishing they will then calculate their heart rate again by checking their pulse the same way they first calculated their heart rate, but they will be doing so on their own by counting off fifteen seconds this time, and to record that information on their sheet of paper and note to themselves if their recently checked heart rate is within their THR zone.

13.) For additional math practice, and for the sake of "keeping the students in check", the teacher may instruct the students to calculate what percentage their heart rate is out their MHR after they are finished with the jog and calculating their second heart rate.

Teacher Closure: The teacher should have everyone to take a moment to catch their breath. The students should now be asked if their recently measured heart rate was within their THR zone. If their heart rate was within their THR zone, then inform the students that they exercised within that zone. The teacher can now discuss with the students what it was like to exercise in their THR zone, if they were able to reach it. If they were not able to do so, inform them that they now will have some understanding of what it would be like to exercise in their target zone. The teacher should remind the students of the importance of exercising and doing so in their THR zone. Then, the teacher should also remind the students that they need to have all information on their sheet of paper.