Respiratory System Lesson

Education and Science
Life Sciences
Respiratory System Lesson
Updated on February 5, 2015 iijuan12 moreContact Author This is part 6 of a 7 part hands-on unit study on anatomy of the human body. Create a lung model, measure lung capacity, dissect a lung, play a respiratory relay race, and more! These lessons are geared toward 4th-5th grade level children and their siblings. They were created by another creative mom for our weekly homeschool co-op. We meet each week for 2 1/2 hours and have 33 children between the ages of 1-13. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, family, after school program, camp, or co-op!

Devotional, Review, margin:0px !important;” /> Nose Mucus
5. Mention how mucus also traps some of the particles we do not want entering our lungs. Demonstrate how this works but using a vacuum cleaner to suck up small items (sand, pepper flakes, etc.) from a plate. Pour more items on the plate again. Then cover the nozzle with a damp paper towel that has a small amount of Elmer’s glue spread across it. This represents the mucus in our noses. Try to vacuum up the small items again. Most of the items will get stuck on the glue-covered paper towel. In the same way, the mucus in our noses traps items (dust, pollen, etc.) so they do not enter our lungs.

YOU WILL NEED: a vacuum cleaner (a small handheld one will work), a small plate, tiny items (such as pepper and sand), Elmer glue, and a paper towel

Nose Cilia, Conchae, and Sinus Cavities
6. [Show a picture of cilia.] The mucus might be able to trap tiny invaders, but they would be stuck in your body if it wasn’t for the cilia, which are tiny carpet-like hairs that are constantly waving around in order to push the mucus and other unwanted items toward your throat so that it can pass through your stomach where your stomach acids will kill most of the germs and then eventually rid your body of them.
-There is also a series of twists and turns in your nasal cavity that bump the air around to knock out some of the unwanted particles. Because it has twists and turns like the inside of a conch shell, it is called the conchae. [Show a conch shell if you have it and also a pictture of the conchae in a nose.] In addition to knocking out some of the unwanted air particles, this swirling of air also helps to warm the air so that it is more comftable to breathe.
-[Show a picture of sinus cavities.] You head also has sinus cavities, which are holes, that also help with the moisturizing, warming, and filtering of the air.

YOU WILL NEED: conch shell and a picture of cilia, conchae, and nasal cavities from a book or the Internet

Eyewitness Visual Dictionaries: The Visual Dictionary of the Human Body (DK Visual Dictionaries)This has nice models of each of the systems of the body including the respiratory system.

Buy Now Pharynx, Larynx, and Vocal Cords
7. After you inhaled air exits your nose, it enters your pharynx, which is divided into 3 parts. The first part is the nasopharynx. Have the children use a mirror to examine their uvula, which is part of their nasopharynx. The other two parts are the oropharynx and laryngopharynx (or larynx for short). Have children feel their larynx, which is the “adam’s apple” bump on their throats.

YOU WILL NEED: mirrors (such as a compact mirror)

8. Explain how vocal cords work to produce sound. Have children place 2 rubber bands of the same length (one wide and one thin) over a container and then pluck them to hear the difference in pitch. If desired, you can add more rubber bands of different lengths and widths.

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YOU WILL NEED: rubber bands of different widths and small containers (such as plastic storage containers)

Watch vocal cords in action
Trachea and Heimlech Maneuver
9. Next, the air moves into your trachea. Have the children feel the cartilage rings of the trachea on their necks. Give each child a straw and have them cover the bottom and inhale deeply in order to try to collapse the straw. The cartilage rings keep the trachea from collapsing when you breath in. Have children color the trachea from and then cut it out and paste it to two paper lunch sack bags.

YOU WILL NEED: straws, paper lunch bags (2 per child), scissors, glue sticks, red markers or crayons, and these sheets:

10. Discuss the Heimlech Maneuver. If you are comfortable with your students trying it, allow for them to gently practice it on a partner. Children can hurt each other if it is done improperly, so make sure they know what to do and know to do it gently. There have been instances when children have used the Heimlech Maneuver to save their younger siblings or friends who were chocking.

Bronchi, Bronchioles, and Alveoli
11. Mention the functions of the bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli. Have children cut out the lungs from the above worksheets. Paste them to the paper bags. Have them glue the labels next to their parts. Use a sponge and watered down red tempera/poster board/finger paint to “paint” the lungs red. The sponge texture will remind them that the lung has a spongy interior because of all the pockets of air. They should then use their pinky finger to place a small dot of blue paint at the end of each of the bronchioles. These will represent the alveoli. (This idea came from .)

YOU WILL NEED: watered down red tempera/poster board/finger paint, disposable plates, blue tempera/poster board/finger paint, baby wipes, scissors, glue sticks, cover up t-shirts (optional), and worksheets from above link

Review of the Inside of Lungs
12. [Hold up two clusters of grapes.] Ask, hat do you think these represent??(Allow for answers.) These represent what is inside your lungs. The main stems would be what? (bronchi or bronchial tubes) The bigger stems branch out into smaller stems, which represent what? (bronchioles) At the end of the little stems are the tiny sacks that get the oxygen you need out of the air and into your bloodstream and they get the waste (carbon dioxide) out of the bloodstream. What do these grapes represent? (alveoli) Pass out a small handful of grapes to each child as today snack.

YOU WILL NEED: 2 large clusters of grapes and paper towels or napkins

Purpose of Respiratory System Games
13. Each single alveolus is covered with tiny blood vessels whose walls are only a single cell thick. As blood passes through these tiny vessels, oxygen seeps from the alveolus through the wall of the blood vessel and into a blood cell. Blood cells that are carrying carbon dioxide (remember that waster they picked up from the tissues) give up that carbon dioxide, and it travels through the wall of the vessel and into the alveolus so it can be exhaled. In the alveolus, the blood rades?carbon dioxide for oxygen. The blood that comes to your lungs is low in oxygen, having given up its oxygen to the tissues that needed it. It comes back to your lungs for more oxygen, exchanging it for the waste it picked up along the way. Have the children repeat, xygen in, carbon dioxide out.?
-The main function of the respiratory system is to supply red blood cells with oxygen so they can deliver the oxygen to the rest of the body. Red blood cells are kind of like delivery trucks that transport the oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and bring back the carbon dioxide from the body to the lungs where it can be breathed out.
-Play the Transportation of Oxygen Game, making sure that each child understands what they are doing and why before you begin:
i. Divide everyone into groups of 3.
ii. One person in each group is an organ of the body. Give that child 10 blue circles with CO2 (2 is small – for carbon dioxide) written on them. Have the 渂ody organ?child from each team line up in one line and sit down because they cannot move. If desired, pass out a picture of the body organ and tape it to the person shirt. We used pictures of the brain, kidneys, and heart because they consume the most oxygen. (The brain consumes 25% of the body oxygen, kidney consume 15 % of it, and the heart consumes 7% of it.)
iii. A second person from each team will be the team lung. Give that persona picture of the lungs to tape to their shirt and then 10 red or pink circles with O2 (two is small – for oxygen) written on them. All the 渓ung?children will line up on another line facing their 渂ody organ?team member and will sit down because they cannot move. Place trash cans next to the 渓ung?children.
iv. The third person on the team is the red blood cell. Give those people red shirts to put on over their shirts. That person will be the only one who gets to move. S/he will run between his/her teammates (the body organ text-decoration:line-through” oncontextmenu=”return showBrokenLink(46702838, false);” onclick=”return showBrokenLink(46702838, false)” target=”_blank”>

YOU WILL NEED PER 3 CHILDREN: 10 blue circles with CO2 (2 is small – for carbon dioxide) written on them, 10 white circles with O2 (two is small – for oxygen) written on them, a red shirt, a picture of a body organ (optional), a picture of lungs (optional), and tape (optional)

Lung Capacity
14. Measure lung capacity. Discuss lung capacity and what might increase or decrease it. Ask if anyone has ideas on how we can measure it. Have children each fill a container such as a pitcher or 2L bottle with water. Have them set their container of water in a large mixing bowl. Use a pitcher of water to top off each container so that it is filled to the brim. Have each child place a straw in the water, take a deep breath, and then blow one strong breath until they can breath out any more. Emphasize that they are not to take repeated breaths. Water will pour out of the container of water and into the mixing bowls. Have the children pour the water in the mixing bowl into a liquid measuring cup. That is their approximate lung capacity. Is there a difference between children who are active in sports and those who aren’t? Is there a noticeable difference between younger and older children?

YOU WILL NEED PER CHILD: a 2L bottle (or pitcher) full of water, liquid measuring cup, very large mixing bowl, a straw, and towels (optional)

15. Explain how the lungs are like balloons that hold and release air. Blow up a balloon and then release the air to help children to visualize this. There is more involved in breathing. Briefly explain how a diaphragm is the muscle that allows your lungs to inhale and exhale. Make a working model of a lung and diaphragm. Cut the neck off a balloon margin:0px !important;” /> The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human BodyThis has a nice section on how the respiratory system works.

Buy Now Material List for the Lesson
-mirror (such as a compact mirror)
-a plastic container (such as an empty sour cream container or a Tupperware container) that is small enough so that rubber bands can fit across it
-this sheet:
-glue stick
-red marker or crayon
-half a sponge (will be used for painting)
-cover up t-shirt to protect clothing while using paint (optional)
-A 2L bottle (or other large container that has a lid) filled with water (You can fill it up with water during class.)
-A large mixing bowl or other container that can hold the water that will be removed from the 2L bottle (preferably with a pouring spout)
-a liquid measuring cup (1 per family)
-kitchen towel (1 per family)
-a disposable plastic Gatorade bottle or water bottle (not flimsy plastic) with the bottom cut off

-a vacuum cleaner (a small handheld one will work), a small plate, tiny items (such as pepper and sand), Elmer glue, and a paper towel
-conch shell and a picture of cilia, conchae, and nasal cavities from a book or the Internet
-rubber bands of different widths (at least 2 per child)
-straws, paper lunch bags (2 per child),watered down red tempera/poster board/finger paint, disposable plates, blue tempera/poster board/finger paint, width:520px;height:250px” data-ad-client=”ca-pub-4157872923169667″ data-ad-host=”pub-6958755572607374″> Related
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