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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:

\checkmark use a sphygmomanometer and cuff or a digital blood pressure meter to measure their blood pressure.

\checkmark explain the difference between the systolic and diastolic pressure.

\checkmark 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 45-\mathrm{minute} 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 cycle-systole and diastole-will 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. 65-7011 “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 15\;\mathrm{minutes}.

  • 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 1-4

Demonstrate these steps to make sure students know where to place the cuff and where to take the pulse.

Steps 5-7

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 pressure-when the tapping sound begins-and then read the diastolic pressure-when 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

\checkmark use the proper procedure for measuring a person's blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer and/or digital blood pressure meter.

\checkmark define the terms “systolic” and “diastolic” blood pressure.

\checkmark identify the two numbers that make up a blood pressure reading.

\checkmark 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 teachers-requests@ck12.org to request sample answers.
  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 6-year-old female should be between 78 and 113. 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.
  2. Age (years) Sex Systolic BP Diastolic BP

    6

    6

    M

    F

    78-115

    78-113

    48-78

    48-79

    12

    12

    M

    F

    93-135

    94-133

    58-88

    59-85

    14

    14

    M

    F

    98-143

    97-139

    60-90

    61-90

    16

    16

    M

    F

    103-148

    100-143

    60-95

    62-92

  1. 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.
  2. What do the two numbers that make up a blood pressure reading mean?
  3. Scott and Jeremy are both 14 years old. Scott's blood pressure measured \frac{98}{65}. Jeremy's blood pressure was \frac{120}{80}. 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 14-year-old 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 40.

  1. What happens if blood pressure is too low?
  2. 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 20\;\mathrm{millimeters} 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 2 or 3\;\mathrm{millimeters} 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 pressure-the 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 12-year-old female should be between 94 and 133. 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

6

6

M

F

78-115

78-113

48-78

48-79

12

12

M

F

93-135

94-133

58-88

59-85

14

14

M

F

98-143

97-139

60-90

61-90

16

16

M

F

103-148

100-143

60-95

62-92

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 14 years old. Scott's blood pressure measured \frac{98}{65}. Jeremy's blood pressure was \frac{120}{80}. 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 14-year-old 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 40.

5. What happens if blood pressure is too low?

6. Which blood vessels control the blood pressure in the arteries?

Image Attributions

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Authors:

Grades:

6 , 7 , 8

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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