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The Mysterious Human Heart The Mysterious Human Heart border=
A Series by David Grubin


Lesson Plan: THE SPARK OF LIFE

activity resources standards video clips

ACTIVITY: ELECTRIC BEATS
(for middle and high school biology or health classes)

Start out by viewing the first video clips (video clip 1 and video clip 2) and discussing the accompanying questions as a class. Challenge the students to find out what exactly Long QT Syndrome is. They can work individually or in pairs to use the Internet or text sources to learn about how the heart beats and maintains its rhythm. They should also be instructed to find out what an ECG records and what it looks like. Students can use the activity sheets(Download here) to diagram the parts of the heart and to illustrate the flow of blood through the heart. In addition to labeling the parts, have students color code the components of the ECG diagram to the parts of the heart where the particular charge is occurring. If done correctly, the right atria will be shaded the same color as the P wave of the ECG, the ventricles will be shaded the same color as the QRS spike, and the left atria will match the T wave. When the activity sheets have been completed, ask the students to guess what an ECG might look like for someone with Long QT Syndrome. You might have them draw their responses on their activity sheets. Students can use the Tour of the Heart on this site to help with labvelling the heart's anatomy.

Without confirming or denying the accuracy of their drawings, show the second clip from the video. Students should have their activity sheets out and use the content of the video to verify whether they were correct with their color codes and predictions about the Long QT ECG. Either discuss the video questions as a class or have students write individual responses.

Next divide the class into groups and let them know that each group will be investigating a different type of heart arrhythmia disorder. Examples include:
  • atrial fibrillation

  • atrial flutter

  • supraventricular tachycardia

  • sick sinus syndrome

  • ventricular fibrillation

  • ventricular tachycardia

  • premature contractions

  • heart block
Assign each group one of the above disorders and have the groups research and then design an informational pamphlet or Web site about it. Their pamphlets should include:
  • description of the disorder

  • causes of the disorder (if known)

  • symptoms

  • treatments, including types of medication and available technologies
Each group should be required to present their finished product to the class. If possible, the class may want to display their brochures in the classroom or the school library, or share them with local health practitioners. They may also want to post them on a medical blog or wiki.

Download Activity Hand-out
More Lesson Plans


Funding is provided by Medtronic, AstraZeneca, and Mars, Incorporated - makers of CocoaVia. Additional funding is provided by the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation. A co-production of David Grubin Productions, Thirteen/WNET New York and WETA Washington, D.C.
Medtronic AsrtaZeneca MARS Thirteen/WNET NEW YORK