7.4: Enrichment
Teacher Activity Notes
Your Blood Pressure
PLAN
Summary
Students measure their blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer and cuff or a digital blood pressure meter. Caution: Some students may have heart problems, blood pressure problems, or other concerns and may not wish to participate. This is certainly the student's decision.
Objectives
Students:
\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*}
\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} explain the difference between the systolic and diastolic pressure.
\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} describe the normal ranges of blood pressure for their age group.
Student Materials
 Activity Guide
 Activity Report
 Blood pressure cuffs or sphygmomanometers; Stethoscopes
 Optional: Digital blood pressure meters
Teacher Materials
 Activity Report Answer Key
 Charts and other visuals showing the heart and circulation of blood
 Illustrations of arteries
Advance Preparation
Arrange with a health professional to come to the classroom to take students' blood pressures as an alternative to students taking the readings.
Become proficient in reading and using a sphygmomanometer or in the use of the blood pressure meter.
Estimated Time
One or two \begin{align*}45\mathrm{minute}\end{align*} periods
Interdisciplinary Connection
Health Students research what normal blood pressure readings are at different ages (infants, children, adolescents, young adults, and older adults). Then they can determine how regular exercise affects blood pressure readings.
Prerequisites and Background Information
Knowledge of the cardiac cyclesystole and diastolewill help students with the terms “systolic pressure” and “diastolic pressure.” Knowledge of the function of the arterioles in the regulation of blood pressure is helpful.
Helpful Hint
The American Heart Association video, Item No. 657011 “What Is High Blood Pressure Anyway?” (9.54 minutes), provides an explanation of high blood pressure that is appropriate for middle school students.
IMPLEMENT
Remember to be cognizant of any students with heart problems. Some students may not want their blood pressures taken. This is certainly their choice. If an adult measures the blood pressure for students, a station rotation is a good idea. One possibility is to set up three lab stations. Each station will be visited for about \begin{align*}15\;\mathrm{minutes}\end{align*}.
 Station A: Students work with the health professional who is taking the blood pressure readings. As the adult takes the readings, he/she will talk about what is being done and what the pressure readings mean.
 Station B: Students watch the video “What Is High Blood Pressure Anyway” followed by a discussion. (See Helpful Hint.)
 Station C: You can assign the text sections and Apply Your Knowledge questions on blood pressure.
If you choose to help students take their own blood pressure, they will need close guidance. It is a good idea to demonstrate the steps with one of the students.
Steps 14
Demonstrate these steps to make sure students know where to place the cuff and where to take the pulse.
Steps 57
Tell students they will follow the same steps. They will use the stethoscope to listen for the pulse pressure sounds. Emphasize the need to listen very carefully. Remind students that the cuff is cutting off the blood to the lower arm. They should not keep the cuff inflated more than one minute. One minute is enough time to read the systolic pressurewhen the tapping sound beginsand then read the diastolic pressurewhen the tapping sound stops.
 A demonstration of barometric pressure using a barometer can help students learn more about how blood pressure is measured.
 A demonstration using straws and string can show how the arterioles constrict, thus increasing the blood pressure.
ASSESS
Use the students' blood pressure and the written responses to the Activity Report to assess if students can
\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} use the proper procedure for measuring a person's blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer and/or digital blood pressure meter.
\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} define the terms “systolic” and “diastolic” blood pressure.
\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} identify the two numbers that make up a blood pressure reading.
\begin{align*}\checkmark\end{align*} explain the normal ranges of blood pressure for students' age group.
Your Blood Pressure Activity Report Answer Key
 Sample answers to these questions will be provided upon request. Please send an email to teachersrequests@ck12.org to request sample answers.
 Record your systolic/diastolic pressures and your age. Your Blood Pressure Your Age Use the table below to find out what the range of systolic and diastolic pressures are for someone of your age and sex. For example, the systolic blood pressure of a \begin{align*}6\end{align*}yearold female should be between \begin{align*}78\end{align*} and \begin{align*}113\end{align*}. However, your reading today is not necessarily accurate. So do not be concerned if it does not fall within the normal range for your age and sex.

Age (years) Sex Systolic BP Diastolic BP \begin{align*}6\end{align*}
\begin{align*}6\end{align*}
M
F
\begin{align*}78115\end{align*}
\begin{align*}78113\end{align*}
\begin{align*}4878\end{align*}
\begin{align*}4879\end{align*}
\begin{align*}12\end{align*}
\begin{align*}12\end{align*}
M
F
\begin{align*}93135\end{align*}
\begin{align*}94133\end{align*}
\begin{align*}5888\end{align*}
\begin{align*}5985\end{align*}
\begin{align*}14\end{align*}
\begin{align*}14\end{align*}
M
F
\begin{align*}98143\end{align*}
\begin{align*}97139\end{align*}
\begin{align*}6090\end{align*}
\begin{align*}6190\end{align*}
\begin{align*}16\end{align*}
\begin{align*}16\end{align*}
M
F
\begin{align*}103148\end{align*}
\begin{align*}100143\end{align*}
\begin{align*}6095\end{align*}
\begin{align*}6292\end{align*}
 Taking someone's blood pressure is not that easy, and sometimes mistakes are made. Name two things that could be done wrong causing an inaccurate blood pressure reading.
 What do the two numbers that make up a blood pressure reading mean?
 Scott and Jeremy are both \begin{align*}14\end{align*} years old. Scott's blood pressure measured \begin{align*}\frac{98}{65}\end{align*}. Jeremy's blood pressure was \begin{align*}\frac{120}{80}\end{align*}. The nurse took both measurements under the same conditions. Which of these statements explains the results?
a. Something is probably wrong. Boys the same age should have the same pressure.
b. Something is probably wrong. Scott's blood pressure is too low for a \begin{align*}14\end{align*}yearold boy.
c. The measurements are reasonable. Normal is a range of blood pressures, and blood pressures vary from person to person.
d. The measurements are reasonable. Something is wrong only if the difference is more than \begin{align*}40\end{align*}.
 What happens if blood pressure is too low?
 Which blood vessels control the blood pressure in the arteries?
Activity Guide: Your Blood Pressure (Student Reproducible)
Introduction
Blood pressure is the force that drives blood through the vessels in the body. In this activity you or a professional measure your blood pressure. There may be some errors in measurement, but remember that normal is a range of blood pressure.
Materials
 Blood pressure cuffs and sphygmomanometers
 Stethoscopes
 Optional: Digital blood pressure meters
 Activity Report
Procedure
This activity can be done with the help of an adult.
Step 1
Roll up the sleeve on the right arm. Make sure the sleeve is well above the elbow. Rest the arm on a table or desk with the palm of the hand up.
Step 2
Center and secure the deflated cuff in the middle of the upper arm. Begin to inflate slowly and steadily. Feel the pulse as you inflate slowly. Stop inflating when the pulse disappears. This is an estimate of the systolic blood pressure. Deflate the cuff completely.
Step 3
Now you're ready to measure the blood pressure. Place the bell of the stethoscope firmly over the artery right above the crook of the elbow. Then locate the pulse at the wrist. Now inflate the cuff to \begin{align*}20\;\mathrm{millimeters}\end{align*} above the point when the radial pulse disappeared in Step 2.
Step 4
Release the air from the cuff slowly. The pressure should drop about \begin{align*}2\end{align*} or \begin{align*}3\;\mathrm{millimeters}\end{align*} per second. Faster or slower deflation will cause errors.
Step 5
When the air pressure in the cuff is slightly lower than the blood pressure in the artery, the blood begins to flow through the artery with each heartbeat. You will be able to hear this rhyt11ffiic escape of blood through the stethoscope. These will be faint tapping sounds of increasing intensity. When the faint tapping sounds begin, record the pressure. This is the systolic pressurethe maximum pressure produced by the heart. When the tapping sounds stop or disappear completely, record the pressure. This is the diastolic pressure.
Step 6
After you record the diastolic pressure, deflate the cuff quickly and completely.
Step 7
Record your blood pressure reading on the Activity Report.
Activity Report: Your Blood Pressure (Student Reproducible)
1. Record your systolic/diastolic pressures and your age.
Your Blood Pressure_________________
Your Age _________________
Use the table below to find out what the range of systolic and diastolic pressures are for someone of your age and sex. For example, the systolic blood pressure of a \begin{align*}12\end{align*}yearold female should be between \begin{align*}94\end{align*} and \begin{align*}133\end{align*} However, your reading today is not necessarily accurate. So do not be concerned if it does not fall within the normal range for your age and sex.
Age (years)  Sex  Systolic BP  Diastolic BP 

\begin{align*}6\end{align*} \begin{align*}6\end{align*} 
M F 
\begin{align*}78115\end{align*} \begin{align*}78113\end{align*} 
\begin{align*}4878\end{align*} \begin{align*}4879\end{align*} 
\begin{align*}12\end{align*} \begin{align*}12\end{align*} 
M F 
\begin{align*}93135\end{align*} \begin{align*}94133\end{align*} 
\begin{align*}5888\end{align*} \begin{align*}5985\end{align*} 
\begin{align*}14\end{align*} \begin{align*}14\end{align*} 
M F 
\begin{align*}98143\end{align*} \begin{align*}97139\end{align*} 
\begin{align*}6090\end{align*} \begin{align*}6190\end{align*} 
\begin{align*}16\end{align*} \begin{align*}16\end{align*} 
M F 
\begin{align*}103148\end{align*} \begin{align*}100143\end{align*} 
\begin{align*}6095\end{align*} \begin{align*}6292\end{align*} 
2. Taking someone's blood pressure is not that easy, and sometimes mistakes are made. Name two things that could be done wrong causing an inaccurate blood pressure reading.
3. What do the two numbers that make up a blood pressure reading mean?
4. Scott and Jeremy are both \begin{align*}14\end{align*} years old. Scott's blood pressure measured \begin{align*}\frac{98}{65}\end{align*}. Jeremy's blood pressure was \begin{align*}\frac{120}{80}\end{align*}. The nurse took both measurements under the same conditions. Which of these statements explains the results?
a. Something is probably wrong. Boys the same age should have the same pressure.
b. Something is probably wrong. Scott's blood pressure is too low for a \begin{align*}14\end{align*}yearold boy.
c. The measurements are reasonable. Normal is a range of blood pressures, and blood pressures vary from person to person.
d. The measurements are reasonable. Something is wrong only if the difference is more than \begin{align*}40\end{align*}.
5. What happens if blood pressure is too low?
6. Which blood vessels control the blood pressure in the arteries?
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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012Last Modified:
Apr 29, 2014If you would like to associate files with this section, please make a copy first.