Changing Body Positions: How Does the Circulatory System Adjust?

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In this activity about how the body regulates blood pressure (page 117 of the PDF), learners make and compare measurements of heart rate and blood pressure from three body positions: sitting, standing, and lying. Learners are also challenged to think about how the circulatory system might behave in a microgravity environment (i.e. astronauts in space). The lesson guide, part of NASA's "The Brain in Space: A Teacher's Guide with Activities for Neuroscience," includes background information, evaluation strategies, and handouts. Note: cost of materials does not include cost of stethoscope or sphygmomanometer; these may be borrowed from a nurse.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Watch or access to clock with a second hand
  • Stethoscope
  • Sphygmomanometer (an instrument for measuring arterial blood pressure consisting of an inflatable blood pressure cuff, inflating bulb and a gauge showing the blood pressure)
  • Alcohol wipes to clean stethoscope ear plugs after each use
  • Copy of Activity Sheet: "Changing Body Positions"
  • Table or bench long enough for a student to lie down


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
      • Circulation
      • Health and Nutrition
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • hear
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • MacLeish, Marlene Y. ; McLean, Bernice R.


  • Public domain, NASA,