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Gender Differences in Resting Pulse Rate of Seventh Graders

Researched by Shari S.


The purpose of this experiment was to determine if gender in seventh graders affects resting pulse rate.

I became interested in this idea because my mother’s job requires her to take the pulses of adults and this has caused me to think about pulse rates of people my age, teenagers.  I have also been interested in the heart for sometime, because I know so many people have heart problems. 

The information gained from this experiment could assist doctors in knowing healthy pulse rate levels in young male and female adults (about 13 years of age).  If a teenager’s pulse rate was a lot higher or lower than expected, it might indicate problems the doctor could remedy.


My hypothesis is that seventh grade females’ pulse rates will be higher than the males’ pulse rates.

I base my hypothesis on a statement made in The Circulatory System, " Women’s hearts usually beat faster than men’s."


The constants in this study were:
* The number of test subjects from each gender.
* The amount of activity allowed before each pulse is taken (3 minutes of sitting at rest)
* The person taking the pulses
*  Location (brachial) where the pulse is taken
* Procedure to take the pulse
* Age group of subjects (in years)

The manipulated variable was the gender of each test group.

The responding variable was  the number of beats per minute in each gender.

To measure the responding variable I will take the brachial pulses of each subject three times, find the mean of the two separate genders and find the differences between each gender. 

25  7th grade male students
25  7th grade female students
2  Chairs
1  Stopwatch/Watch



1. Obtain permission slips from each test subject.
2. Gather materials for experiment.
3. Have one test subject brought to testing area.
4. 3 minutes of seated rest should be allowed for test subject.
5. At 3-minute mark take 15 second brachial pulse for subject 
6. Record pulse
7. At 4 minute mark take 15 second pulse
8. Record pulse
9. At 5 minute mark take pulse for 15 seconds
10. Record pulse
11. Calculate mean of three trials
12. Multiply result by 4
13. Repeat steps 3-12 for remaining  test subjects 
14. Calculate mean between each gender and find all separate averages


The original purpose of this experiment was to determine if gender affects seventh grade resting pulse rate.

The results of the experiment were that the b.p.m. of the females was in fact higher than the male b.p.m. by six beats.  The overall female average was 85 b.p.m. and the overall for males was 79 b.p.m.

See graph below



My hypothesis was that the female pulse rates would be higher than the males’ pulse rates.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted because the female overall average was 85 b.p.m. and the males’ overall average was 79 b.p.m.  This indicates that on average 7th grade females b.p.m. are 6 beats higher than the male b.p.m.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder  how male and female athletes  pulse rates compare. I wonder if the difference in b.p.m. would be higher, the same, or lower than in this experiment.

If I were to conduct this project again  I would have a larger sample size so I could improve the accuracy rate of this experiment.


Pulse is an important aspect of your health.  Usually it is taken at a physical and is a way to see if your heart is working correctly.


As quoted from, The American Heritage Student Dictionary pulse is, "The rhythmical expansion and contraction of the arteries as blood is pumped through them by the beating of the heart."  The arteries stretch as the heart contracts and propel about 30-60 grams (2-4 oz.) of blood everywhere around the body.  Your arteries pass over solid structures such as bones or cartilage.  If you press gently on one of these areas you will feel a faint beating called your pulse.  Your pulse can be felt in a number of places.  A few of these places are, your wrist (radial pulse) which is a very common area to have your pulse taken, along you trachea (windpipe), which is you carotid pulse, and your brachial pulse which is taken on the inside of your elbow. 

Usual Pulse Rates of Various Age and Gender Groups

Age also affects your pulse.  The usual pulse rate for a baby embryo is 150 b.p.m. (beats per minute).  The average pulse rate of an infant140 b.p.m and 90 b.p.m in seven years old.  A man from 30-40 years old usually has a pulse rate of approximately 72 b.p.m; this differs from 76-80 b.p.m for a woman of the same age.  Elderly people have the lowest of the other age groups, which is around 50-65 b.p.m.  Women usually have higher pulse rates that men.  Another difference among pulse rates is physical activity. Exercising, such as playing sports, speed you pulse rate up and almost double the speed of your heart.  "Athletes" hearts beat slower because they don’t need to pump as much to get the same amount of blood flowing. 

What Happens Each Time You Feel Your Pulse

Your blood rushes through your veins every time that your heart contracts and expands.  When the blood travels through your pulmonary arteries the walls of the arteries expand and contract just like your heart.  If you press down gently (pressing too hard can cause your circulation to cut off) with two fingers (but not your thumb; it has a pulse of its own) over an area where a vein passes over a bone or some cartilage is you will feel pulsing motion which is your pulse rate.  15 seconds of your pulse multiplied by four is your total b.p.m.

The Heart

The heart is a muscular organ that receives and propels blood through arteries.  The heart is about the size of a closed fist and is held by arteries and veins.  The heart consists of two atriums and two ventricles.  In one expansion and contraction blood returns to the top atrium by two large veins (the superior and inferior venae caveae) which drains into the bottom atrium by the coronary sinus.  Diastole is the process of blood going to the top ventricle during the relaxation part of the cycle.  The contraction of the heart propels blood into the aorta and then to all areas of the body.  The rate of the heart is controlled by automatic nervous system.  This produces two sounds.  One is a dull sound, which is caused by the vibration of the atrio-ventrical valves, and the other is a sharp sound, which is produced by the closing of valves.

Heart Diseases
200,000 adults die of heart related diseases every year.  There and many different types of heart diseases, one of which is rheumatic heart disease.  Rheumatic heart disease is usually followed after rheumatic fever attacks.  This type of heart disease usually strikes in children.  Another type of heart disease is Myocarditis, which is the inflammation or degeneration of the heart muscle.  There is a major form of heart disease which is called athersclerosis.  This condition usually strikes in the western countries.  A fatty deposit called plaque builds up in the coronary arteries and causes them to close up which slows the blood flow to the heart.  Fatty plaque is partly caused by too much cholesterol and animal fats in a persons diet.  Stress, high blood pressure, and cigarette smoking can also heighten the risk of heart attacks.

Pulse is the rhythmic pulsating of your veins which can be felt while you press down on an area that a vein passes over a hard area such as bone or cartilage.  Many things effect your pulse such as gender, age, your diet, and drugs. Problems with your heart can arise and this can be shown by you pulse. 



Gardner, Robert Science Projects about the Human Body Springfield, New Jersey; Enslow Publishers Inc. 1993 

Gupta, Amit K. "Pulse Rate" [Online] available at 1995-1996

"Heart" Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia Deluxe Edition, 1998

"Pulse" Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 99 1999

Sabaino, Dominick "Pulse" World Book Encyclopedia 1995

Silverstein, Alvin Dr., et al, The Circulatory System Canada; Fitzhenrey and Whiteside Ltd.

"Taking a Pulse"
March 2nd, 1997


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