60 Minutes  |  5th – 12th Grades

biomechThe biomechanics hand dynamometer is used to measure the grip strength of a persons’ hands, often times to monitor recovery rate of an injury.  In this activity, students will use the PVC and spring hand dynamometers to record and analyze their and their classmates’ hand strengths.  In addition, students will consider factors that influence a person’s grip strength, and ways in which grip strength affects everyday life.  By understanding the forces that the muscles are capable of producing, students will be able to conceptualize designs for disabled persons, or those recovering from an injury in which hand movement and strength is diminished.

This activity takes about 45 minutes and includes an introduction and overview discussion of biomechanics, interactive experimentation with the hand dynamometers, and data analysis of the results.  After the activity, students should be able to: explain the physical movements and design of the hand dynamometer, describe how much force a particular person’s hands are capable of producing, and explain and find patterns in how grip strength varies with age, gender, height, etc.  For further discussion, students can be asked how the design might be improved or modified for different age ranges or strengths, and how other muscles in the body could be measured for strength.

This activity has highly variable range of levels of intricacy, and can be conducted very effectively with any range of students.

MA Framework Content Standards:
Grades 3-5:  Life Science (Biology): 6. Inherited Characteristics (Evolution)
Grades 6-8:  Technology/Engineering: 7.1 Adaptive/Assistive Devices
High School Biology: 4.5 Muscular/skeletal system  4.8 Homeostasis (Psychological Feedback)  Scientific Inquiries 1-4.

Lesson Plan:
Lesson Plan – Hand Dynamometers

Biomechanics Handout