STEM Play Packs – Jumping Rope

Faster Jumper 

Aim: Find a way to jump rope faster by discovering the perfect length for you.

Supplies: Jump rope; phone with timer app or kitchen timer; an open, flat space large enough for doing jump rope.

How to play:

    • Set the timer for one minute and count how many times you jump rope in that minute. (It might help to have another person start the timer.)
    • Shorten the jump rope by tying a knot near the handle and time yourself for one minute, counting how many times you jumped the rope.
    • Do #1 and #2, but this time count both the successful jumps and the number of times the jumper messes up.
    • Listening to music may affect a person's jumping ability. Try jumping for one minute to slow music, fast music and no music to see if your count changes.


Questions to Ask

    • How does the length of the rope affect how long it takes to go in a full circle?
    • How does a shorter rope affect how high you jump and the number of mistakes you make?
    • Which method made you a faster jumper and why?


Where is the STEM?

    • Science: When you are experimenting, change only one thing (variable) at a time so you know what effects the results.
    • Technology: Phones and stopwatches make it easy to track time.
    • Engineering: Solve how to shorten the rope.
    • Math: Time is one form of measurement.

What is the Science?

Think about how long it takes to bring the longer jump rope a full circle. If it takes longer to bring the jump rope around you won’t be able to get as many jumps done in the minute. What about as you shortened the jump rope? The shorter the jump rope the faster it turns, therefore, you may have been able to get more jumps in per minute. However, because the circle is smaller you might have to jump higher to get over the jump rope, and that might slow you down or cause you to make a mistake.


Jumping Hearts

Aim: Exercise to increase your heart rate to make your heart stronger.


Supplies: Jump rope; stopwatch or phone with stopwatch app; an open, flat space large enough for doing jump rope; another person to time you


How to play: 


  1. Practice finding your pulse. Use the first two fingers of one hand to feel your radial pulse on the opposite wrist. You should find your radial pulse on the "thumb side" of your wrist, just below the base of your hand. 
  2. Measure your resting heart rate, which is your heart rate when you are awake but relaxed, such as when you have been sitting still for several minutes. To do this, take your pulse when you have been resting. Count your pulse for 10 seconds.  Multiply the number of beats you count in 10 seconds by six. This will give you your resting heart rate in beats per minute (bpm).Write it on a scrap piece of paper. 
  3. Set the timer for one minute.  Jump rope at a fast rate for one minute and then stop and take your pulse.
  4. Set the timer for one minute.  Jump rope at a slower rate for one minute and then stop and take your pulse.
  5. Make a hypothesis:. I can jump slower for __ minutes and still get my pulse to the same number when I was jumping fast.
  6. Have someone time you for however many minutes you put in your hypothesis. This time jump at a slower rate. At the end of your minutes take your pulse.  Was it higher or lower than the first time?  
  7. Change the length of time and your jump rope rate and try again.


Questions to Ask

    • How was your heart rate the same or different depending on how fast you jumped?
    • What other type of exercise could you do to this same test? (walking, running, jumping jacks) How was your heart rate different in each?


Where is the STEM?

    • Science:Your heart is a muscle that needs exercised to be healthy.
    • Technology: Timers are a tool to track the passing of time.
    • Engineering: Testing various types of exercises to determine how to get the best heart rate.
    • Math: Counting and recording time are basic skills.

What is the Science?

Just as exercise strengthens other muscles in your body, it helps your heart muscle become more efficient and better able to pump blood throughout your body. This means that the heart pushes out more blood with each beat, allowing it to beat slower and keep your blood pressure under control. Generally doing a more strenuous exercise raises a person's heart rate faster compared to doing an exercise that is only moderately intense. Therefore,to provide the best exercise for your heart, people usually need to do a moderately intense exercise for a longer amount of time. More information on the value of exercise,

What is a pulse and your heart muscle: 

Other Resources:

Sweaty Science experiment:


Jump Skills 

Aim: Use your brain, muscles, and senses to jump better in a variety of ways.

Supplies: Jump rope; paper and pencil. 

How to play: 

  1. Use your jump rope in the following different ways for exercise. Notice which muscles you are using, how your senses are helping you; and what you can do to keep your balance.
  2. Count how many times you can do each type of jumping? Write it down.
  3. Try doing warm up exercises, and then redo the jumping exercises.
  4. Count and document again.
  5. Change where your eyes are focused. Redo the exercises, count and document.


Bunny Hops – Hop on one foot

Flashback – Swing the rope in the other direction, jumping backward

Run it – Run or jog forward as you jump

Firecrackers- Jump as fast as you can

Jump Rope Jack – Jump with feet together then feet apart

Twister- Twist body to one side and then the other when jumping

Skier- Spread the rope on the floor and jump side to side over it

Up and Back – Spread the rope on the floor and jump forward and backward over it

Criss Cross – Criss cross legs on every other jump

Crossovers- Cross arms on every other jump

Donut Jumps – Make the rope into a circle on the ground, jump into the circle then out


Questions to Ask

    • How is your brain helping you exercise?
    • Which muscles are you using for each jump style?
    • How does changing what your eyes are looking at change the way you jump and the number of times you can do a jump? 


Where is the STEM?

    • Science:Our muscles and senses make it possible for us to move and exercise.
    • Technology: A jump rope is a tool to help us do exercises.
    • Engineering: You can improve your exercising by using your muscles and senses in specific ways (i.e. eyes on something at eye level in the distance).
    • Math: Counting helps us keep track of quantities.

What is the Science?

You rely on many organs and body systems to successfully exercise. Your muscles, eyes, and even your ears all have a role to play. However, one organ stands head and shoulders above the others – the brain! Your brain is constantly getting input from your senses and coordinates your muscles to adapt to changing conditions. How do you keep your brain in top shape? A healthy diet and exercise are good for starters, but learning new skills (like art, math, or languages) helps to keep your brain sharp throughout your life.

Your heart pumps blood through the circulatory system taking oxygen to your muscles. On the right side oxygen-poor blood from the body-to the lungs for cleaning and re-oxygenating. Left side from the heart to the body delivering the oxygen it needs. During exercise, the muscle cells exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide more by increasing the breathing rate and heart rate. Check your pulse.

Your heart rate changes depending on your activity level; lower while you rest - higher while you exercise. The heart beats fewer times per minute when you are physically fit. An active heart rate closer to your resting heart rate shows greater efficiency and will be lower at higher intensities of physical effort.

The human body has more than 600 muscles that make up half of a person's body weight.

Skeletal muscles move body parts by contracting and then relaxing. Your muscles can pull bones, but they can't push them back to their original position. So they work in pairs of flexors and extensors. Muscles get their signals to contract and relax from the brain.

The muscles located in the spine, abdominals, back, and legs are extremely important for balance and flexibility for when you are jumping rope as well as you legs and arms that are moving.

The visual system includes sensory cells in the eye’s retina that respond to visual cues, like the vertical alignment of trees and buildings, or the closeness of an object to orient you in space. The vestibular system, in your ears, uses fluids and sensors to let your brain know what position you are in, like a gyroscope.

The proprioception system is tiny sensors in your hands, arms, feet, legs, and ankles that tell your muscles and brain about joint position, pressure, and muscle stretch. This lets the brain calculate your position in space and time.

You can close your eyes and touch your nose with your finger because proprioceptors are sending messages to the brain. Learning any new skill, sport, or art, usually requires you to get used to the proprioceptive tasks specific to that activity. An artist uses proprioceptive information to brush paint onto a canvas without looking at their hand as it moves the brush (they look at the artwork instead). A person jumping rope uses it to move without watching their feet.

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