Activities for learning the respiratory system

Written by kyra sheahan
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Activities for learning the respiratory system
Use X-rays in your classroom lessons to spark student interest. (Chinese woman holding an x-ray image by Allen Penton from Fotolia.com)

Teaching students about the human respiratory system allows them to develop an understanding of the respiratory system's importance and relation to the rest of the body. Incorporating activities into your lesson curriculum is an effective way to abet students' attention and interest in the subject, for it gives students a way to apply the information they learn to practical experience.

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Label the Respiratory System

The respiratory system comprises various parts, such as the bronchial tree, diaphragm, lungs and cardiac notch. Give students a lesson in respiratory anatomy and then assign them an in-class activity that requires them to label the different areas of the respiratory system. Each student should get a printout of the respiratory system with blank lines that point to a particular feature. Have students fill in the answer on the line and check the their work to make sure everyone is on the right track. When all the students have finished the activity, review the answers as a class.

Respiratory Riddles

Have students work in small groups to create a respiratory riddle based on one specific area of the respiratory system. The objective of the riddle activity will be for the rest of the class to guess what part of the respiratory system the group wrote the riddle about. Ideas include oxygen, lungs, carbon dioxide, cigarette smoke or anything else that pertains to the respiratory system. This activity makes students think analytically about the topic they selected to write the riddle on.

Breathing Exercises

It is important for students to learn the concepts of resting breathing rates and active breathing rates. For this activity, set a quiet tone in the room, turn the lights out and tell students to concentrate on the breaths they take. They should make note of how often they are inhaling and exhaling. Then, take the class outside and have students do jumping jacks or run around. After a few minutes gather the kids together and have them take another look at how they are breathing. Ask students to describe the difference in how they are breathing now compared to when they were sitting in the classroom.

Respiratory Hazards Collage

Maintaining good respiratory health can be achieved when students are aware of pervading hazards. Teach students about the dangers that can cause respiratory damage and provide them in an in-class activity to create a collage. Pass out magazines for students to cut up, along with scissors, glue and poster board. Have students work in small groups to find any image in the magazine that pertains to a respiratory hazard. Students may come up with cleaning chemicals, cigarette ads or anti-pollution campaign images. They must make a collage to present to the class, and be able to discuss what types of hazards they found.

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