Heart Rate Data – Fun Exercise With a Link to Maths Lesson Plan

Summary of Lesson Plan:

In this lesson, students use their own body to discover their heart rate and look at the data across a class. The learn to think more deeply about the information that they will need to record and graph this data using various methods. The lesson also allows for the analysis of information presented by looking for correlations through the mean, median and mode and challenges to students to make informed judgments based on what they see.

Australian Curriculum Links:

  • Year 6 – Interpret and compare a range of data displays, including side-by-side column graphs for two categorical variables (ACMSP147)
  • Year 7 – Identify and investigate issues involving numerical data collected from primary and secondary sources(ACMSP169)
  • Year 7 – Calculate meanmedianmode and range for sets of data. Interpret these statistics in the context of data (ACMSP171)
  • Describe and interpret data displays using median,mean and range (ACMSP172)
  • Construct and compare a range of data displays including stem-and-leaf plots and dot plots(ACMSP170)

Lesson Plan Sequence:

  1. Brainstorm with your students a list of jobs that involve looking at data to make judgments. (If they can’t think of any, prompt them with sporting statisticians, etc).
  2. Ask what would the purpose of some these jobs listed be? In other words, why would they be employed? What is it that they are going to try and find out?
  3. Explain to your students that today, you are going to be statistician (as well as the guinea pigs) in an experiment that will test out a number of possible theories. The experiment is on our Heart Rates.
  4. At this time, bring up a copy of the HR Data Collection Spreadsheet on your computer or iPad.
  1. Model how to fill in the data and ask the children to fill in their details for the NUMBER 1 (Explain that it is best that we don’t include peoples’ names for privacy.
  2. Model how to find your pulse on your wrist or under you neck and calculate your resting HR.
  3. Once the students have found their resting HR and recorded it into the table, move the whole class to an area where they can participate in some high-intensity exercise.
  4. Play a game/give commands/allow the students to run continuously for 5 minutes and then get them to begin the recording of their HR data.
  5. Remind them that after each minute (for 5 minutes) they need to record their HR again and put it into their table.
  6. Once finished, have all students add their data to your original version of the HR Data Spreadsheet. They can copy what you put in as you go.
  7. When finished, ask the students to think of 3 questions that we could ‘INVESTIGATE’ by looking at this data. (Hopefully they’ll see that they can compare variables in the experiment such as distance from school with the HR).
  8. Now let the students use the features of Microsoft Excel to create graphs on their data. (For advice on how to do this, check here).
  9. You may also like to model how to create a STEM and LEAF Plot, as well as how to categorise data into sections (E.g. Boys Vs Girls, etc).
  10. Allow your students to get started and rove to assist those that need more help.


  1. Once finished, ask a few of the students to display their work with the rest of the class.
  2. Using the graphs, ask a variety of students to make judgments based on what they can see and explain how they came up with the judgment.
  3. This may also be a great time for you to discuss the MEAN, MEDIAN and MODE within the data and explain what each of them mean for a future lesson.
  4. Allow students to have another 10 minutes to make judgments on their own graphs and report back to a peer/friend/group.


  • Microsoft Excel HR DATA Spreadsheet will show not only computer skills, but ability to create graphs.
  • Anecdotal Notes
  • Can turn the data and graphs into a poster with judgments
  • Post test on finding correlations (if required)






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