Ten Ways to Use Heart Rate Watches in GCSE/A/AS Level Lessons

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With educational reform on the horizon, it has been interesting to read that for GCSE Physical Education, Ofqual/ DFE have decided to accentuate the importance of Anatomy & Physiology within their subject criteria. Alongside the need to examine 60% of the course theoretically through external examination, the day to day workings of a GCSE PE lesson are clearly going to change. This article explores the many possibilities of investing in pulse/ heart rate monitors to increase the interactivity of lessons.

Pulse rate monitors vary in size and cost. Gleader’s Sport Stop Watch Calorie Counter Heart Rate Monitor which retails for about £4 whereas Garmin’s Forerunner 210 Gps Sport Watch w/ Heart Rate Monitor which retails for about £400. However, within the constraints of a school budget and the simple functionality required for a PE lesson, I would recommend spending no more than £5/6. A small group of pulse rate monitors can be shared within classes and add value to the interactivity of lessons.

I have suggested 10 ways that you could include heart rate watches into your GCSE or AS/A Level lessons:

  1. Take a base rate resting pulse. Share results and suggest reasons why some student’s heart rate is higher/ lower than others.
  2. Look for an ‘anticipatory rise’. Get students to monitor their pulse and provide pre-event information- eg in 2 minutes you will start to exercise/ in two minutes you have a test/ in two minutes I will ask you to present to the class.
  3. Place one student on a piece of cardiovascular equipment with the watch on, while the other records heart rates
  4. NB Number 3 can be tied in to the new requirements re: use of data. Plot a graph
  5. Analyse the graph drawn in 4- what does it show you? Explain your answer
  6. Monitor heart rate post exercise- look for the maintained heart rate initially followed by gradual decrease and link to the demands of EPOC
  7. Try differing intensities of exercise and log your heart rate (again these could be graphically plotted to show steady state/ increasing intensity/ interval training) etc
  8. Embark on a series of training sessions and log resting heart rate levels over a period of weeks to see if there is a drop in resting heart rate as a result of bradycardia
  9. Carry out slightly more prolonged steady state exercise and see if there are any increases in heart rate to relate to cardiovascular drift
  10. Work out the aerobic training zone in relation to your age (220- age) and increase intensity until the HR is in the zone.

I hope these provide you with some ideas!

Written by Ross Howitt- Principal Moderator, Principal Examiner and lead developer for GCSE Physical Education for major examination boards.

Posted by Help Me Teach on 10 November 2015 at 08:08.

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