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This Science Experiment Using Video Games Is Perfect for Seventh Graders

written by: Alicia • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 1/17/2012

This is the third in a series of seventh grade science projects. This article takes students natural interest in games, and investigates how playing a video game affects a person's heart rate. It is a perfect project to use when you begin teaching about the heart.

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    When your seventh grade students begin to study muscles, they will study the heart, and this is a great project to use when teaching about the heart and how it works.

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    Materials Needed

    1. Stop Watch or Clock
    2. Action Video Game
    3. Game Show/Puzzle Type Video Game
    4. Television
    5. Notebooks
    6. Pencils
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    First Steps

    Discuss with your student what a heart rate is and show them how to check it.

    Demonstrate by taking a student's heart rate.

    Put your first two fingers on their wrist under the thumb side until you feel a beat. Using a stop watch or the second-hand on a clock, count how many beats you feel in fifteen seconds time.

    This number is then multiplied by four to get the total heart rate.

    Talk with your students about things that may increase heart rate and things that may decrease heart rate.

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    The Science Experiment


    1. Have the students sit in their desks quietly for five minutes. Then have them take their heart rates and write down the heart rate in their notebook. This is their resting heart rate. You will compare the heart rates taken during video game play with the resting heart rate.

    2. Have students create a hypothesis as to whether they feel their heart rate will go up or down when playing an action video game. Then have them write what they think will happen to their heart when they play a game show/puzzle type video game.

    3. Perform the experiment setting up two televisions and two video game systems, one at each end of the room. The first one should play the action video game and the other one the game show/puzzle video game. Split students up so that they can switch sides when done.

    4. After each student finishes playing a game have them take their heart rate and then record it in their notebook. They should have three heart rates written down when they are finished:
      1. Resting heart rate
      2. Action game heart rate
      3. Game show/puzzle game heart rate

    5. Have students compare and share their results with the class.
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    Discuss why the heart rates may have accelerated, decelerated, or stayed the same.

    Have students write a conclusion in their notebooks being sure to comment on whether their hypothesis was right or wrong.