Faculty Publications & Research

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation


Presented at Experimental Biology 2019

Publication Date



Students in my Physiology and Disease (PAD) which is a Biology elective at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), Aurora, Illinois, measure heart rates and blood pressure to study the correlation between these parameters. IMSA is a residential magnate school for students gifted in math and science. I have evolved my PAD class to be based upon student centered learning, which has proven to be the best way to challenge students to take responsibility for their own learning. Several opportunities are provided to students for hands-on experiences, such as building a working model of the pumping heart and measuring body parameters such as heart rate, lung capacity and blood pressure before and after exercise. Students normally measure their blood pressure using sphygmomanometers while exercising. To enhance student learning and improve integration between different disciplines, an interdisciplinary and collaborative project was introduced where students will modify the previously introduced Arduino heart rate monitor to make the Arduino blood pressure monitor. This will help them understand the connections between programming and measurement. This project build upon previous integration of different disciplines such as biology, computer science and physics, encouraging collaboration between students proficient in any or all of these disciplines. It is hoped that students will understand the working of the heart better by creating the Arduino blood pressure monitors.

Student understanding of material as evidenced by their assessment scores improved significantly with the introduction of the mechanical heart model building assignment. At this time, students in my classes are currently completing the blood pressure model prototypes and their feedback for this project will be collected along with any suggestions for improvement or modification. Evaluation of this assessment includes appraisal of the quality, accuracy and creativity of student monitors. It is hoped to continue building upon this non-traditional method of modeling for other physiology concepts next semester, to further enhance student learning.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.