Over 170 years ago, a man named Laennec invented the first stethoscope. It was a wooden tube about 1 inch in diameter and about 10 inches long.


1 cardboard tube from a paper towel roll per every 2 students


  1. Have the students pair up and listen for their partner's heartbeat by placing the tube over the partner's heart.
  2. Count the number of beats per 30 seconds. Add this number together twice to find out how many times each minute the person's heart beats.
  3. Have one partner run in place for one minute, then listen again. Have the students write down what they hear and calculate the new beats per minute.
  4. Have the partners switch.

Follow-Up Discussion:

The heart beats faster after the exercise in order to pump more blood (oxygen) to the working muscles.

Study more about the heart - do diagrams; trace the path of blood through the heart and lungs; read about the heart; think of all the ways we use the word "heart" (heart-throb, heartbreak, heartless, heart-to-heart, heartsick, heart-rendering, take to heart, by heart, hearty, heartfelt).

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You are viewing a page in The Franklin Institute's online exploration of the human heart. It is one of many Resources for Science Learning which inspire scientific curiosity.

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