Measuring Blood Pressure in Space

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In this activity (page 105 of the PDF), learners measure heart rate and blood pressure and learn how to obtain consistent measurements during repeated tests. This activity teaches learners how to measure a pulse manually as well as how to use the sphygmomanometer and the stethoscope. Use this activity to discuss how astronauts in space measure their blood pressure and heart rate in space differently. 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:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 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
  • Alcohol wipes to clean stethoscope ear plugs after each use
  • Copy of student activity sheets (Page 108 in PDF)


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Circulation
      • Health and Nutrition
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
  • 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
  • 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,