Core Lesson

My Healthy Heart Booklet

Lesson Overview:

Students learn to use their hearts as indicators of the intensity of the exercise they do. For a healthy body, we need to work on keeping our hearts healthy. We can do this by making healthy food choices and keeping active and fit. Children should be able to identify habits that lead to feeling good and being fit versus unhealthy behaviors. In this lesson - a series of mini activities - students create a My Healthy Heart Booklet, recording and reflecting on what they learn about heart health. By creating a personal booklet, students can illustrate their understanding of how they exercise their hearts.


Content Standards Addressed:

Common Core State Standards

National Standards


Learning Objectives:

By completing this lesson, students should:

  • Understand that they can help their hearts get stronger by doing (aerobic) exercise.
  • Relate aerobic activity to getting their hearts pumping, making them perspire and quickening their breathing.
  • Be able to identify habits that lead to feelings of wellness versus "unwellness," particularly as the habits relate to a healthy heart.


Materials Needed:


Important Terms 

Aerobic - The term aerobic means "with air." Therefore, aerobic exercise is a kind of activity that requires oxygen. When you breathe, you take in oxygen, and, if you're doing aerobic exercise, you may notice you're breathing faster than normal.


Suggested Lesson Steps:

1. Have students feel for their heartbeats. To help get them started, explain that they should put their hands a little to the left of the middle of their chests to feel the beat. After they can feel it beating, tell them that even though the heart is located underneath the bone at your chest, there is another cool way to know it's working: by feeling your pulse! To help them find their pulses, guide them through the following steps. (WarningPlease be sure to stress that students should press lightly on their skin when looking for their pulse. Because finding a pulse can sometimes be difficult, students may make the mistake of pressing too hard - doing so can be dangerous. Emphasize that finding a pulse can be difficult and that they should not get too frustrated if they are unable to do so.)

Find your pulse by lightly pressing on the skin anywhere there's a large artery running just beneath the skin. Two good places to find a pulse (an artery) are on the side of your neck and the inside of your wrist. You should use your index (pointer) finger (not your thumb) to feel for the pulse.

2. Have students describe how they think exercise affects the heart. If they are not sure, explain the following: When you run around a lot, your body needs a lot more oxygen-filled blood. Your heart pumps faster to supply the oxygen-filled blood that your body needs. You may even feel your heart pounding in your chest.

3. If possible, have students run around in an outside area, in the gym or around the perimeter of the classroom. Ask them whether they can feel their hearts beating faster after this activity. If they're unsure, have them take their pulses again. This should demonstrate the difference between their resting heart rate and their heart rate during and after exercise. What other changes did they notice? Were they sweaty? Were they breathing faster than normal? Explain that in addition to exercising their legs, they also just exercised their hearts!

4. Now, have students run in the same space, but faster - as fast as they can. Are they sweatier this time? Breathing harder than the last time? Are their hearts beating even faster? Most children should be encouraged to get their exercise heart rates up to 180 beats per minute.

5. Pass out copies of the My Healthy Heart Booklet cover. Explain that students will create a booklet, drawing a picture of their own heart or using the image from the Picture Your Heart handout, which they can then personalize. (See an additional example here.) This booklet will be used throughout the rest of the lesson - giving you the ability to break up the remaining activities over different days. The following are optional mini-activities that help promote the idea of a healthy heart.

  • Have students try to take their pulse at rest and record the number in their booklet. (If this is beyond their abilities, take your own pulse or one student's pulse, and report the count to the whole class.) It is an opportunity to emphasize counting and math skills. For example, see if they can figure out how many beats they have in one minute. (They can count the number of beats in 20 seconds and add that number three times.) Then, students should run in place or jump rope for a few minutes and take their pulses again, if appropriate. They should notice that their hearts are beating faster in general. (Most children should be encouraged to get their exercise heart rates up to 180 beats per minute.)

  • List and discuss ways that students can keep their hearts healthy. Students can add these items to their booklets, illustrating them, writing about them and so on.

  • - Exercise! Your heart is a muscle, so it needs exercise just like your leg and arm muscles. Getting and keeping your heart in shape requires you to do aerobic exercise, like walking, running and swimming. The more exercise you do, the healthier your heart will be!
    - Eat right! Eating a variety of foods such as fruits and vegetables makes your heart healthy too. What are some examples of healthy foods and unhealthy foods?
    - Stay away from smoking! Smoking makes your heart work harder, and it makes it harder to breathe when you are exercising. It's best to just stay away!
    • Students should be able to recall that their heart is about as big as their fist and is located left of the middle of their chest within the ribcage. Have them draw a heart on a child figure or on their own picture within their booklets.

    • Have the students write the definition of aerobic in their booklets:

    Aerobic: with air

    Explain that the term aerobic means "with air." So when you're doing aerobic exercise, you need oxygen. In fact, exercising makes your breathe faster than normal, which means you take in more oxygen.

    • In their booklets, have students paste magazine images or photos of the activities they enjoy and have fun doing. If they are able, have them list the aerobic activities as well.


    Related Links:

    An illustration of the heart and more about its anatomy is found here

    Kids can learn about eating healthy here.


    Academic Extensions:

    • Study more about the heart, completing additional diagrams and tracing the path of blood through the heart and lungs.
    • Tailor the discussion and the concepts to your students' abilities to comprehend them. For example, you may need to simply help students understand that hearts are muscles that get stronger the more active we are.
    • The My Healthy Heart Booklet is an excellent opportunity to send student work home - giving students the opportunity to teach family members about some healthy heart tips!
    • Have someone come in to speak from the American Heart Association.


    Assessment Criteria:

    1. Class participation.
    2. Booklet evaluation.​​