Pulse Counter

What can your pulse rate tell you about yourself? You found out in science class that if your pulse rate is slow, you are probably sitting. If it is fast, you probably just finished exercising. Besides exercising, what else can change your pulse rate? What can cause a family member's pulse rate to be different from yours? Do this activity and find out.

Materials

A hand open upward, on the wrist is a small bit of clay with a toothpick.

Procedure

Ask an adult to help you make a pulse counter. Roll clay into a ball. Flatten the ball and carefully stick a toothpick upright in the center of the clay. Balance the counter on your wrist behind your thumb as shown in the image above. Observe the toothpick move back and forth each time your pulse beats. Count the number of beats in a minute. Have a family member keep track of the time for you. Ask a friend or family member who is around your age, but a different gender, to take his or her pulse rate. Ask an adult family member to do the same thing. Try taking your pulse rate in the morning and in the afternoon. Record all your data.

Results

Does gender affect pulse rate? Does age affect pulse rate? Does the time of day affect pulse rate? What do you think can make pulse rate go up quickly?