Heart Smart Unit Study
The heart is a powerful muscle that expands and contracts to pump blood to every part of the body. Everyone has a pear-shaped heart about the size of a closed fist. The heart is located in the middle of the chest, just behind the breastbone. The heart is divided into two chambers. The left chamber, which is larger, pumps blood to the entire body. The right chamber, which is smaller, pumps blood only to the lungs. Each of these chambers is divided into two smaller chambers. The upper chambers are called auricles, and the lower chambers are called ventricles. Blood vessels called arteries carry the blood away from the heart. They expand and contract with the heart as the blood is pumped through the body. From the arteries, the blood flows into capillaries, which are tiny tubes throughout the body. The capillaries are then joined with tiny tubes called veins, which unite with larger veins in the body to return the blood to the heart. This starts the blood flow all over again.
Heart Healthy Activities
Math – When the heart pumps, the veins stretch slightly, causing a pulse. Instruct students to find their own pulse by pressing two middle fingers against the inside of his or her wrist or on his or her neck under the jaw. How many times did the heart beat in twenty seconds? Multiply this number by three to find out how many times their heart beats in a minute.
Science – There are many risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Learn what it means to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Then explore ways to control it.
Health – With your students, make a list of heart-healthy foods. Emphasize the importance of eating a low-fat diet. Then encourage your students to look at the fat grams on their favorite snack , such as chips or chocolate, and discuss how unhealthy these foods are for a healthy heart.
History – National Wear Red Day® is held every year on the first Friday in February. People are encouraged to wear red to raise awareness of heart disease on this day. Heart disease is one of the most complicated health challenges in the United States. With your students, look back in history and discover the date when National Wear Red Day® began, who inspired the day, and what caused this person to raise awareness. Encourage students to wear red on the next National Wear Red Day® to raise awareness of heart disease.
Physical Education – Exercise makes the heart work faster and harder. It also helps your heart become stronger and more efficient. There are many things you can do to keep your heart healthy, such as dance, soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, football, and more. Encourage students to participate in Heart Walk™ or CycleNation™. Both events, whether walking or cycling, raise money for the American Heart Association®.
As the founder of Texas HOME Educators, Susan Reed has a mission to help other members educate. She currently has two homeschool graduates who are both in college, and she has a sophomore in high school. When not homeschooling, you will find her teaching piano, coaching soccer, running THE Book Nook, and writing at www.myhappyhomeschool.blogspot.com where she encourages the homeschool mom to live out God’s calling and stay the course.