# Lovely Lungs

Biology in Elementary Schools home

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Biology In Elementary Schools is a Saint Michael's College student project from a course that ran between 2007 and 2010 and fully described in this book chapter. The student-created resources have been preserved here for posterity. Link under 'toolbox' for printer-friendly versions of the exercises. Click on handouts to print full resolution versions. Please see Wikieducator's disclaimer, our safety statement, and the Creative Commons licensing in English and in legalese.

### Student worthiness

Tested and was successful

### Primary biological content area covered

• Human body
• The lungs
• Respiratory system

### Materials

• 2-3 one gallon jugs or soda bottles
• 2-3 large basins
• water
• rubber hose (cut into 2 or 3 pieces, each cut piece should about a meter long)
• cardboard tubes for each participant (for mouthpiece)
• tape to wrap around one end of each hose for making the cardboard tube fit snugly around it
• a measuring device for measuring the students
• a poster board or graph paper to graph results of lung volumes vs. heights

### Handouts

Each student should receive one handout prior to the activity (See Figure 1). The handout also serves as a student response sheet for data to be recorded (prior to plotting it on the class graph).

### Description of activity

In this activity, students will blow as much air as possible into a tube that will displace water out of a one gallon jug. By measuring how much air is in the jug the students will be able to evaluate their own lung capacity. They will get the chance to explore the relationship between lung capacity and height. A scatter plot (with height as the independent variable and lung volume as the dependent variable) will be instructed to accomplish this. This activity teaches the students about the lungs, the respiratory system, and graphing.

### Lesson plan

#### Pre-activity Preparation

• A bar chart should be pre-made with corresponding labels (names on x-axis, lung capacities on y-axis). Students will enter their information in the bar chart after the activity. (See Figure 6.)
• Label the jugs using intervals of 100 ml. Set up the two or three large basins of water on a flat surface. Holding the palm of your hand over the neck of the jug, turn it upside down into the water (one jug per basin). Slip one end of the rubber hose into the neck of the jug. Hand out one cardboard tube to each student to be slipped over the rubber hose (in the interest of germs).
• What does it do (function)?
• What organs make up respiratory system?

#### Activity

1. Measure the students' heights (cm). (See Figure 7.)
2. One at a time, ask students to blow out as much air from their lungs as possible (safely) into the rubber tube. (See Figures 4 and 5.)
3. The air blowing up will displace some of the water.
4. Using the scale on the side of the jug, have each student record their "lung capacity."
5. Have students discard cardboard mouth pieces when finished.
6. Have the students add their data point to the graph. (See Figure 6.)

#### Post-activity & Discussion

• After the activity is completed, a scatter plot can be constructed to show the lung capacities of students. Students now can accept or reject the hypothesis that says "lung capacity increases as height increases."
• Discuss the lung's role in the respiratory system.
• What would affect one's lung capacity, function, or breathing in general?
• size of person
• exercise (would affect breathing rate, not lung capacity)
• smoking
• cancer
• asthma
• If time, show pictures of smokers' lungs.

### Potential pitfalls

Minor mishaps may include:

• The student taking extra breaths in order to reach a higher lung capacity.
• The water basin getting knocked over.
• Students getting upset about their lung capacity being worse than another's capacity.
• Students graphing incorrectly.

### Math connections

This activity links to Vermont Grade 3 Standard M3:2. It reads, students will "demonstrate understanding of the relative magnitude of numbers 0-999 by ordering whole numbers; by comparing whole numbers to benchmark whole numbers; or by comparing whole numbers to each other... using models, number lines, or explanations." A very similar standard for Grade 4 is M4:2.

• This will achieved through use of a bar chart, on which students will mark their lung capacity and compare it to the lung capacity of others'.

Vermont Grade 4 Standard M4: 25 "Organizes and displays data using line plots, bar graphs, tally charts and frequency charts, or tables to answer" AND Vermont Grade 3 Standard M3: 25 "Identifies or describes representations or elements of representations that best display a given set of data, Organizes and displays data using bar graphs or tables to answer question related to the data"

• The students will be graphing a scatter plot of the relationship between their lung capacities and heights.

### Literature connections

The following books and song will be used for student reference if time allows:

Cole, Joanna, and Bruce Degen. The Magic School Bus: inside the Human Body. New York: Scholastic, 1989. Print. (pages 20-23)

Macaulay, David, and Richard Walker. The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Print. (pages 56-97)

Schoenberg, Jane, Steven Schoenberg, and Cynthia Fisher. My Bodyworks: Songs about Your Bones, Muscles, Heart and More! New York: Crocodile, 2005. Print. (song: Inhale, Exhale)

### Connections to educational standards

This lesson meets Vermont standard S3-4:41. In this standard, students must "show connections between external and internal body structures and how they help humans survive." Within the standard, this specific science concept is addressed: "By breathing, people take in oxygen that they need to live. Key structure is the lung."

Vermont Grade 4 Standard M4: 25 "Organizes and displays data using line plots, bar graphs, tally charts and frequency charts, or tables to answer"

Vermont Grade 3 Standard M3: 25 "Identifies or describes representations or elements of representations that best display a given set of data, Organizes and displays data using bar graphs or tables to answer question related to the data"

### Next steps

After comparing and finding a relationship between lung capacity and height you could try to find a relationship between lung capacity and something else, such as amount of physical activity per week, birthday, or eye color, and see which things have a relationship with lung capacity and which things do not.

You could also use the graphs to go over mean, median, mode, and range for the heights and lung capacities of the students in the class. (standards M4: 24 and M3: 24)

### Reflections

I was very pleased with our activity. Although more time would have been useful, the lesson fit perfectly into the twenty minutes we were given. I was so thankful that we didn’t have to crunch too much into the small amount of time. Before the activity, when we asked the students what the respiratory system was, most of them were at least familiar with the whole idea. This helped to move along the pre-activity lecture. The experiment itself worked well too. We were lucky to have a sink right next to the experiment so we were able to keep filling the bottles back up after each student went. Even with the sink, though, things did get a bit messy with all the water. Planning ahead and having towels accessible is a good idea. The height vs. lung volume graph that we had the class make proved to be valuable. This allowed the students to compare themselves with others. They seemed to enjoy looking up at their red dot in comparison to their teachers. Of all the things in this activity the graph is definitely the must-do! At the end of the activity we had the students think about what we can do to keep our lungs healthy and our lung volume high. Almost all of the students immediately said that not smoking is a big factor in healthy lungs. It was rewarding to be able to reinforce the dangers of smoking. I felt that the students gained a lot from our “Lovely Lungs” activity and left with new and useful knowledge. -Laken