Basic Life Support for Adults


This lesson plan (1 of 4 in a series) covers the basic didactic fundamentals of addressing an adult (age 18 and up) who collapses in front of the responder with steps to begin basic life support (BLS) cardiopulmonary resuscitative (CPR) efforts and activating the emergency medical system (EMS; calling 911 in the USA).


With the high frequency that one can encounter an event like a person collapsing in everyday life, it becomes important basic knowledge for students to know how to provide basic life support measures.  Basic life support measures include rescue breathing, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and activating the emergency medical services (EMS) system by calling 911 (in the USA).

The teacher can expect to familiarize the students with Red Cross Adult CPR protocol and concepts from this lesson.  The organization of this lesson plan is to show multimedia presentation (hook) that gets the students attention, followed by demonstrations, formal lecture with handouts, small student work groups, followed by formative and summative assessments (online exam) to close the lesson plan.  Given the time required to cycle a class full of students both through didactic and practical aspects of this lesson plan, teachers can expect to devote about a week's worth of class periods to get students proficient in the objectives (Adult CPR protocols) for this lesson plan.

Expected outcomes for students center on being able to understand the adjunct life-saving measures associated with Adult CPR skill sets used during cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.  The teacher will be able to utilize the didactic and media resources provided herein to provide students with basis for progression into a full practicum for this learning modality. 

NOTE: This lesson plan adopts Red Cross protocols for becoming certified for CPR which requires the use of practice materials (e.g., practice mannequins) taught in the context of certified instructor-led practicals.  This lesson plan serves as the adjunct knowledge portion of CPR training with transition into full-fledged practical training and certification in this lesson series.


Work area suitable for students to work in pairs 

Adult CPR practice mannequins for student practice (mouthguards or using of cleaning agents between class periods as teacher deems appropriate)

Videos and PDF resources provided in this lesson plan to be used in conjunction with in-class practice CPR mannequin activity.

Lesson Plan Organization:

The lesson series is over five class periods with each day organized:

a) Introduction by teacher, b) Video Hook Preview, c) Teacher-led short class discussion about video concepts, d) transition to in-class practice with CPR mannequins with student pairs, e) clean-up, and f) exit ticket 

Class period days: 1-4 = Didactic / Practical training

Class period day: 5 = Summative assessment by instructor/teacher

Lesson Times

5 Class periods or 250 minutes
5 Class Periods

Industries / Subjects / Grades

Industries / Pathways
  • Health Science and Medical Technology Health Science and Medical Technology
    • Patient Care
    • Public and Community Health
K-12 Subjects
  • Science
    • Life Sciences
Grade Levels
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • Adult

Standards and Objectives


California English Common Core Standards (1)
California's 2013 CTE Standards (5)

Related Instructional Objectives (SWBAT...)

  • Students will be able to identify and summarize major life events as they impact health care practices and patient outcomes in adult resuscitation events.
  • Students will be able to observe adult patient actions, interests, and behaviors while documenting responses during cardio-pulmonary arrest events in their journal.
  • Students will be able to explain the principles of body mechanics in adult cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and document their findings in a journal.
  • Students will be able to follow and document in their journals appropriate guidelines for implementation of adult cardio-pulmonary resuscitation procedures.

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