Healthy Hearts

Purpose:  To produce an informational presentation on heart health and disease combining 2D and 3D graphics, animations, digital photos, and a data driven chart.

Overview:  Students will research the basic concepts of heart health and disease and become an expert in an area as it  relates to the heart and circulatory system.  Possible areas include cholesterol,  hypertension, congenital conditions,  exercise, or smoking.  They will then prepare a multimedia presentation of their findings.


Scientific Visualization:  Design and Problem Solving,  Applying 2D and 3D techniques
Science:  Biology

NC Scientific and Technical Visualization Objectives:

Level I:
2.01 Explain the concepts and principles of problem solving and design.
2.02 Apply problem solving and design methodology
3.02 Apply the concepts and principles of computer file management
5.00 Apply 2D and 3D visualization techniques

NC Biology Goals and Objectives:

3.03 Determine the form and function of organisms  including:  Organ systems of animals.
2.05 Analyze and explain the role of genetics and environment in health and disease.


Software:   Possible tools are listed, the project will depend somewhat on what tools are available to use. Power Point or other presentation software
3D Studio Max  or TrueSpace
Excel or other spreadsheet
Equipment: Digital Camera
Teacher Background:

Heart disease is a general term which is used for a number of different types of conditions.  Both genetic and environmental conditions are important in the development of heart disease.  The research in this area includes thousands of studies. A variety of charts, graphs and animations will be helpful in explaining the causes and treatments of heart disease.   For example, a presentation on the heart and exercise might include an animation of a beating heart, a graph of student exercise recovery rates, charts showing the heart attack risk reduction from different levels of exercise and a summary of how exercise is supposed to help the circulatory system.  A presentation on a congenital heart deformity might show an animation of how the normal heart works and how the defect affects function, a comparison of the normal electrocardiogram and that of a person with a particular heart condition, a chart showing the percentage of people born with that problem in different populations, and a summary of how that heart defect affects lifestyle.

A requirement for students to collect their own data for one of their charts is a real possibility for this lesson.  Students could measure their own resting heart rates and create a frequency histogram for the class data.   Resting, exercise,  and recovery data can be collected and graphed by individual students or averages for groups of students such as members of an athletic team can be calculated and graphed.  The school nurse or a science teacher may be able to instruct students in measuring blood pressure which could add another dimension to the data.

This project  requires students to integrate many  skills.  It is appropriate for a major portfolio project and could take several weeks to complete.  The description of the student assignment assumes students working in teams, however with minor modifications a student could  this project  individually.  If it is a portfolio project, each individual student should have copies of the planning document (Gantt chart)  in his or her  portfolio and should write an individual reflection.

By setting different groups of students to work on different aspects of heart health and disease, the class will be exposed to an overview and could combine their presentations to produce a useful education tool.

The time alloted for presentation has not been set in the student assignment.  The teacher must determine and assign  appropriate time guidelines.

The Gantt Chart is one of the Total Quality Management Tools (TQM) specified in Objective 2.01.  Students teams should be able to create their own charts after an intitial experience using one.  In this lesson one has been provided which could be used as a model for this and other projects.  If the students are already familiar with Gantt charts the teacher may require them to create their own by the process detailed in Appendix G of the Scientific and Technical Visualization Blueprint.


The National Cholesterol Education Program and the sites linked to it have a wealth of information about lifestyle factors and blood cholesterol.  Found at:

Excellent Resources on Congenital Heart Disease at:

Heart Information Pages from the heart information network:

A web site with a discussion of electrocardiograms and how to read them    A library of examples:

A website put together by physicians in Jacksonville, Florida with lots of good education pages and resource links and an ask a doctor feature.

The American heart and Lung Institute at

Student Assignment:

Minimum Requirements :

Presentation Outline
Electronic presentation (Web or Powerpoint)
2 2D  static graphics.
1 dynamic graphic (animation) with accompanying storyboards
1 scanned image with inserted labels.
1 digital photo image with inserted labels.
2 spreadsheet tables, charts or graphs.
Bibliography referencing sources used for each fact presented.


I. Plan your project:

A. All members of the team should participate in the planning of the presentation.  Several planning meetings will be needed including at least one at the beginning to organize your research process, another after some research has been done to coordinate further research and the development of the presentation, and another before giving the presentation to be sure the overall product is coordinated.
 B. A plan of action (Gantt or Activity Network Diagram) must be developed and submitted. Probably you will need to do some research before completing  planning the project.  The plan of action should also contain assignment and/or division of responsibilities (be sure responsibilities are equally divided),  potential time line which indicates progress, milestones, and completion of project, and anticipated times for team meetings. 

 II.  Develop Your Presentation:
A. Identify the purpose of your presentation.  Examples:  
  • inform people of how cholesterol affects the circulatory system and how they can lower their cholesterol.  
  • Show how a heart with a particular defect differs from the normal heart, the treatment (if any) and how this heart defect affects the life of the person who has it.
B.  Research the heart and your associated topic.  Use the internet, available books and other resources.
C.  Organize material for presentation according to conventional outline standards showing major topics, sub topics and supporting detail.
D. Decide what static and dynamic graphics will most help your audience understand the main point of your presentation.  Decide on an overall look and style so that the presentation appears unified.
E. Divide up the work among your group members and complete your Gantt Chart.  Check to be sure each of the project requirements will be met.
F. Check in with other group members to be sure goals are being met as planned.
G.  Practice as a team to streamline your presentation. Elements to be considered are the following: style and tone, emphasis of ideas, smooth transitions from one idea to the next and from speaker to speaker, and appropriate time allocation for each speaker.

IV.  Present Your Project:
A. Clearly communicate purpose(s) in original and thoughtful ways. Each team member overtly or covertly conveys the purpose as each speaks.
B.  Clearly delineate major and minor concepts which meet goals and objectives.
C. Provide supportive detail.
D Use styles and tones which effectively capitalizes on audience interest and level of knowledge. The team needs to maintain and similar style and tone when presenting.
E. Use multiple methods of communication, applying conventional rules of those methods in original and thoughtful ways.
F. Communicate information as a whole component, logically organized with coherence and relevance.
G. Interact effectively as a team, supporting each other as each member speaks.
H. Complete presentation within the allocated time, each member having an equal amount of time.
I.  Effectively respond to questions and/or concerns, each member having an equal opportunity to respond.

V.  Evaluate Your Work
A. As a group write a reflection explaining at least three strengths of your project, what problems you had to overcome to produce it and detailing what you would change about it if you could.  This should be word-processed and  no longer than 1 page. 

Evaluation Criteria:

 Success will be measured by the following criteria:
Project planning, Gantt chart 5
Presentation Outline 5
2 2D Conceptual Graphics included 4
      clear - easy to see 2
      labeled  2
      understandable 2
      good choice of colors and appropriate backgrounds 2
Animation included 4
       storyboards used to plan flow 5
      works smoothly 4
     contributes to understanding content of presentation 4
Scanned image labeled and inserted  4
2 spreadsheet tables, graphs, or charts included 4
     appropriately labeled 2
    contribute to understanding project  2
Digital picture labeled and included 4
Overall project (fits together and holds audience attention) 5
Overall project (quantity and quality of information)  5
Oral Presentation (See IV for criteria) 20
Team interaction 5
Bibliography 5
Reflection 5
Total  100


Possible extensions include actually presenting this to biology or health classes, producing a CD-ROM for biology or health  classes to use, developing a class web site on Heart Health.

Gantt Chart:  To plan your time for this project, use an  Activity Network Diagram  or Gantt Chart  similar to the example below.  You will need to adjust the chart to your actual assignment.    This chart was drawn in Autocad.  A similar chart could be made using a Spreadsheet program. It would be interesting to do one showing a projected time schedule and one showing an actual time schedule.


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This lesson contributed by Robert Scull.
eeh 2/1700