The Heart Rate Awakens

During the SHAPE America National Convention I had the opportunity to share a new activity I recently created called “The Heart Rate Awakens” during the Polar Session. A huge thanks to Polar for inviting me to be part of their session.

Learning Outcomes

Below you will find a list a learning outcomes for this activity. Although I was very excited to make a Star Wars themed activity, of course it is always important to start with the learning outcomes.

Now that you understand the learning outcomes of this activity I can tell you a little bit about how it works. I use Polar H7’s with my 5th grade students, which allows me to display their heart rates on a projector screen anonymously. However, this activity can be done with or without heart rate technology as the traditional technique of finding your pulse can be used as well.  Students come into class and quickly put on a heart rate sensor (after some practice in previous classes) and get started in groups of 4 to 6.

Here is the game board, which is very simple. I made it simple so it would be easy for all students to start the game quickly.

To play the Heart Rate Awakens activity you can download, cut and laminate all the materials by clicking here.

Activity Materials Per Group

1 Game Board

1 Die

1 Game Board Piece  

9 Rey Cards

9 BB8 Cards

9 Stormtrooper Cards

9 Tie Fighter Cards

How to Play

Students in groups of 4 to 6 will place their game piece on the Millennium Falcon and roll their die. The students will then choose a card that corresponds to the Star Wars vessel or character they land on with the exception of the Millennium Falcon space, which is explained further in the next paragraph. Notice in the graphic below that BB8, Rey and the Trooper represent exercises that correspond to the Health Related Components of Physical Fitness. There are three different possible exercises for each character, and each card has just one exercise listed. The Tie Fighter card is a wild card and can have any of the exercises from the other three character card on it so students will not know what Health Related Component of Physical Fitness they will do until they flip it over.

If students land on the Millennium Falcon spot they have an opportunity to earn a digital badge by completing the red zone challenge. Students can complete this challenge by identifying an exercise they believe could put them into the red zone, which is 90% of their maximum heart rate for a short duration of time, and then performing that exercise. If the students make it into the red zone they then earn the Millennium Falcon Red Zone Bonus Badge. Students can receive the badge after class. Here is the badge. I use a QR code to distribute the badge.


When students flip over a card they will do one of 9 different exercises. Every exercise besides jogging requires them to do a particular number of repetitions. In order to make this lesson personalized for each student, the cards give students the option to choose the number of repetitions they will perform. For example, if students flip over the squats card they have a choice of doing 5, 10 or 15 squats. I think student choice is important and allows students who have a harder time with some exercises to work at a slower pace which will hopefully make them more successful during the activity. If students complete the exercise before their classmates have finished they do jumping jacks while they wait.


Heart Rate Zones

I tell my 5th graders that if they are feeling good they should do their best to stay in the orange zone (80-90% of maximum heart rate). If they are not feeling great they should shoot for the green zone (70-80% of maximum heart rate) during this activity
So far, my students have responded very well to this activity. I hope your students enjoy this activity too, whether you have heart rate technology or not.

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