The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Heart
Students discover the power of the human heart and how to keep it healthy with these fun learning activities.
- Grades: 1–2, 3–5
- Unit Plan:
About this book
Simple class activities introduce students to the power of their heart and provide an opportunity to discuss ways to maintain good health.
- Be able to diagram the human heart, following the blood flow in and out.
- Be familiar with the terms having to do with the heart.
- Compare and contrast the heartbeats per minute while resting and taking part in different exercises.
- Identify exercises that promote a healthy heart.
- Identify healthy habits, including healthy eating habits.
- The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body
- Cardboard paper towel rolls, one for every pair of students
- Stop watch or timer
- Research about the human heart, for your reference
- Chart Your Heart (PDF), one copy per student
- Jump ropes, one for every pair of students (or as many as you have)
- Chart paper for brainstorming
- Blank diagram of a human heart (if you don't have one already, Teacher Vision has a great printable), one copy per student
- Blank paper for poster-making, one sheet for every pair of students
- Red butcher paper
- Red construction paper
- Blank index (or larger) cards
- Two bells or buzzers from board games
Set Up and Prepare
- Draw a large heart on red butcher paper. Cut out the heart shape and hang on the wall so students can write vocabulary words on it.
- Make cards with healthy heart habits (good foods, exercises, etc.) and cards with bad habits (unhealthy foods, not exercising, etc.) for the Healthy Heart Challenge.
- Cut out small hearts from the red construction paper to use as points for the Healthy Heart Challenge.
- Clear plenty of floor space for the children to exercise.
- Decide on student pairs for the exercise activity and two teams for the Healthy Heart Challenge.
- Read the book The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body aloud to the class. Focus on the section about the heart and the bloodstream. As you read, stop and ask questions. Have the students take turns writing new words and vocabulary from the story on the large heart.
- Divide the class into pre-selected partners. Give each pair of students a cardboard paper towel roll. Give each student a copy of the Chart Your Heart reproducible.
- Demonstrate to the class how to find their heartbeats, either on their wrists or their necks.
- Have the students count their heart beats while you time them to take their resting heart rate.
- Have each partner use the toilet paper roll as a stethoscope to listen to the other’s heartbeat.
Help students record their own resting heart rates in the "Standing Still" column of their charts.
- Next, have the students walk around the classroom for 30 seconds and immediately take their heartbeat. Time the students so they count their heart beats for the same amount of time.
- Have each partner use the toilet paper roll to listen to the other’s heartbeat.
- Have the students record their findings on their own Chart Your Heart pages.
- Repeat steps 7-9 for the "Jogging," "Jumping" in place, and "Running" columns on the chart.
- Have students take turns using a jump rope to jump 15 times and repeat the taking of their heartbeat, listening, and recording.
- Come back together as a group and help the students brainstorm other exercises they can do. Record their answers on the chart paper.
- Break students into pairs again and let them experiment with the remaining blank columns of their charts. Encourage the students to try some exercises that don’t require as much cardio, like turning in a circle or standing on one foot.
- Have the students create a list of healthy heart exercises and record on chart paper.
- Review the vocabulary words from Day 1. Talk about the exercises and the heartbeat rates from Day 1.
- As a class, label the parts of the heart on the blank human heart diagram. Have students draw arrows following the path of the blood entering and exiting the heart.
- Brainstorm which foods are healthy for the heart and which ones are not. Make a class chart with the students' responses.
- Play the Healthy Heart Challenge:
- Divide the students into the pre-selected teams.
- Have one student from each team come up to the front of the classroom where you have set up bells or board game buzzers.
- Hold up a healthy card, the first student to hit the bell answers.
- If the student answers correctly, his or her team earns a construction-paper heart.
- The team with the most hearts wins the Healthy Heart Challenge.
- Have the students write their own lists of foods to eat and exercises to do at home with their families to keep everyone's heart healthy.
- Have student pairs make posters promoting a healthy heart to display around the school.
Supporting All Learners
Have advanced students diagram the heart independently. When dividing the class into teams, be sure to split up your ELL students and put them in with English-only students. The struggling students can seek help from their teammates during the game, or you can give them slightly easier questions.
- Listen to different types of heartbeats, including animals.
- Create a human heart out of clay.
- Create a brochure on how to prevent a heart attack.
Have the students take inventory of the food in their house. Make a chart of healthy and unhealthy foods.
The students will make a list of activities they can do at home with their families to keep their heart healthy.
Did your students understand how the different exercises affect their heart rate? Were your students able to respond and brainstorm for healthy foods and habits? Were the students able to create a poster to promote a healthy heart?
- Give the students a crossword puzzle with the facts about the heart (you can make your own using Puzzlemaker).
- During the lessons, monitor the students, check for understanding and make sure they know how to find their heartbeat.