Building on concepts taught in the associated lesson, students learn about bioelectricity, electrical circuits and biology as they use deductive and analytical thinking skills in connection with an engineering education. Students interact with a rudimentary electrocardiograph circuit (made by the teacher) and examine the simplicity of the device. They get to see their own cardiac signals and test the device themselves. During the second part of the activity, a series of worksheets, students examine different EKG print-outs and look for irregularities, as is done for heart disease detection.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standard Network (ASN), a project of JES & Co. (www.jesandco.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
Click on the standard groupings to explore this hierarchy as it applies to this document.
- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: Technology
- National Science Education Standards: Science
- Next Generation Science Standards: Science
- Use mathematical representations to describe a simple model for waves that includes how the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy in a wave. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- 4 - 10k resistors
- 1 - 10k variable resistor
- 1 - 39k resistor
- 1 - 47k resistor
- 1 - 100k resistor
- 1 - 220k resistor
- 2 - 470k resistors
- 2 - 1M resistors
- 2 - 470pF capacitors
- 1 - 1uF capacitor
- 1 - 2.2nF capacitor
- 1 - 4.7nF capacitor
- 5 - 741 op amps
- 4 - electronic project boxes
- 1 - breadboard
- Plus an oscilloscope, power supply, electrodes, wires, etc., as described in the EKG Diagram with Instructions
- overhead projector, to go over handout answers with the class
|EKG:||Acronym for electrocardiograph. A medical instrument that records electric currents associated with contractions of the heart.|
|bioelectricity:||An electric current that is generated by living tissue, such as nerve and muscle.|
|heart rhythm:||The pattern of heartbeats that result from electrical impulses that start in the sinoatrial (or sinus) node.|
|heart disease:||Any disorder that affects the heart's ability to function normally.|
|action potential:||A momentary change in electrical potential on the surface of a cell that occurs when it is stimulated, resulting in the transmission of an electrical impulse.|
|QRS:||The electrocardiographic deflection representing ventricular depolarization; the initial downward deflection is termed a Q wave; the initial upward deflection, an R wave; and the downward deflection called an S wave.|
|cardiac:||Of, near, or relating to the heart.|
Overview for Teacher
- Teach the associated lesson.
- Construct the EKG circuit to the specifications in the EKG Diagram with Instructions.
- Test the EKG on the teacher or another adult before using it in the classroom.
- Make copies of the attached handouts so each group has a different handout.
- Make copies of the handout answers for use with an overhead projector.
- Let each student examine the circuit with the modules covering each circuit component.
- Remove the module covers and let students view the circuit again.
- Connect the circuit to the power supply and the oscilloscope.
- Ask for a student volunteer to sit next to the circuit.
- Connect electrodes to the underside of the student's forearms and to the student's ankle.
- Connect the leads to the electrodes on the student and turn on the oscilloscope and power supply.
- Make sure all students can see the oscilloscope.
- If space and the length of the wires permit, ask the student to carefully jog in place.
- As everyone watches the oscilloscope, draw attention to how the signal has increased frequency.
- If time allows, ask for another student volunteer and repeat steps #6 through #9.
- Divide the class into groups of four or five students each.
- To each member of a group, pass out the same handout. Ideally, every group should be looking at a different handout.
- Direct students to discuss the handout questions within their groups.
- Walk around the room and observe how students are progressing through the questions.
- When satisfied that students have put forth enough effort in answering the questions, display the answers to the class using an overhead projector.
- After discussing the handouts, display the Stages of Heart Failure Handout and make connections among all of the different heart conditions and how they relate to EKGs.
- Collect students' completed handouts for grading.
- Activity Handout 1 (doc)
- Activity Handout 1 (pdf)
- Activity Handout 2 (doc)
- Activity Handout 2 (pdf)
- Activity Handout 3 (doc)
- Activity Handout 3 (pdf)
- Activity Handout 4 (doc)
- Activity Handout 4 (pdf)
- Activity Handout 1 Answers (pdf)
- Activity Handout 2 Answers (pdf)
- Activity Handout 3 Answers (pdf)
- Activity Handout 4 Answers (pdf)
- EKG Diagram with Instructions (doc)
- EKG Diagram with Instructions (pdf)
- Stages of Heart Failure Handout (doc)
- Stages of Heart Failure Handout (pdf)
- You be the biomedical engineer: Explain how the bioelectrical signal propagates through the heart and how that signal is able to be captured to a person who has just been diagnosed with a heart disease. Then, explain how an EKG captures this phenomenon.
Relating Heart Beat to Wave Energy
James Crawford, Katherine Murray, Mark Remaly, Shayn Peirce, Leyf Peirce
© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2007 University of Virginia
Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia
Last modified: May 6, 2015