Benefits of Incorporating Heart Rate Monitors into PE

PE teacher, Kelly Koch, has found a new way to motivate her high school students in PE – heart rate monitors.

“They’re a game changer for my students. I’ve noticed that when I use the heart rate monitors, the motivation level within the students definitely increases,” said Koch, a High School Health and PE Teacher at Easton High School, PA.

Koch uses Gopher’s Optic Strapless Heart Rate System with her students. At the beginning of her 10th grade Personal Fitness class, her students wear the adjustable heart rate fitness watch while their data is instantly displayed on an iPad through an app called AssessTech. She is then able to project the iPad screen on the wall for students to see.

“I can have the students set goals in terms of what they want to achieve during the block,” said Koch. “A lot of those students are able to evaluate their progress during the period when they’re trying to reach those goals because they have the data right in front of them.”

Setting up the Gopher Optic:

Koch shared that setting up the software and pairing it with the fitness watches was not too difficult. Class rosters can be imported into the AssessTech app. Those rosters can include student names or just the heart rate monitor number to keep the data anonymous to the entire class.

“I always make sure that I point that out to the students. That just because someone has a higher heart rate than you, doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily working harder than you.” Koch said.

She sited using Gopher’s training videos as helpful resources. She recommends starting slow and working with just a few students to test out processes before expanding to the entire class.

“I actually labeled all of them and they have a number on them. The students know that they come in, and they pick up that number.” Koch said. “At the end of the [class period] they know that they have to clean it off with a disinfecting wipe and put it back in the pocket that they got it from.”

Teaching Fitness Components with Heart Rate Levels:

Koch also uses the Optic to teach her students about the different components of fitness by comparing the heart rate levels of different stations.

Koch explains, “When their heart rate was a little bit higher at one station versus another station, they were able to figure out that it was a cardiovascular station versus being more of a muscular strength or a muscular endurance activity.”

In the images below, Koch had students design their own interval training workout. They monitored their heart rate at the different intervals to determine how effective the workout is.

She also use the Optic heart-rate monitor during a pyramid workout. She shared this video of her class on Twitter.

Assessment Practices with the Optic

Koch doesn’t use the heart rate technology to grade her students since there are a variety of factors that go into a student’s heart rate. However, she does use it to determine effort and intensity.

She explains, “You have the data in front of you and you can say to the student, ‘you’re not in your target heart rate zone, and I have a feeling it’s because you’re not giving your best effort.’”

At the end of class, she does ask for a few volunteers to look over their data with the rest of the class to find trends and assess the heart rate data.

“Within the app, when I have it up on the projector, I can click on that student’s report and based on that student’s information, I can have some of the students draw conclusions.”

Teaching Skills for a Lifetime of Physical Activity

Koch feels that heart rate technology has really enhanced her Personal Fitness class and her students really enjoy using them.

“I would say that 85 to 90% of the students always raise their hand and say they like them.” Koch explains. “Some of them really do take it very serious when they’re trying to increase their cardiovascular endurance.”

Many of her students wear similar fitness watches such as the Fitbit or the Apple Watch, and it’s been a great introduction on how to assess the data being collected.

“They learned (about heart rate technology) in my class, but then they’re able to take the heart rate monitor outside of class from their own smartwatch and understand how to use it.”

Have you used heart rate technology in your classroom? Or are you hesitant to try it out with your students? We’d love to hear your story in the comment section below!

If you are interested in the Gopher Optic, but don’t have funding at your school, check out the SPARK Grant Finder for recent grants in your state.

One Response

  1. I found out that using HRM in my class, not only increased participation but increased the students overall attitude for personal improvement. They are finally buying into the program. I just need more monitors so they don’t have to wait for their turn.

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