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This unit covers aspects of cardiovascular and respiratory physiology that are important in exercise and fitness. It is designed to provide middle school students with a basic understanding of how the heart and the lungs work together when someone exercises. The unit can be used as an integrative review of these topics, or selected activities from the unit could be used to introduce some of the topics. The original module was designed by a team of high school teachers and research physiologists. This version has been modified by another teacher/physiologist team, experienced in middle school life science education. However, the unit does assume a basic knowledge of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The unit utilizes the Learning Cycle approach (Karplus & Thier, 1967; Lawson, 1988), where various modules can be used to engage students in thinking about the topic(s); offer them opportunities to explore via hands-on and inquiry approach activities; to explain their findings and how they relate to the concepts included in the unit; to elaborate on the concepts; and to assist teachers to evaluate students' understanding of the unit concepts. The modules are designed to teach middle school students general physiological principles that are suitable for science or health classes. Although the curriculum is based on the life sciences, the activities could also be appropriate in general science, with an integrative unit, or when use of an inquiry-based approach is desirable. This activity has been designed within the guidelines of the National Science Education Standards (NSES) in both content and pedagogy for students in grades 5-8.
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