Teaching children about the respiratory system can be more effective by using active lessons or projects. Prior to the projects, inform students about how the respiratory system is responsible for bringing oxygen into the body. The respiratory system includes the lungs, the trachea or windpipe, and the nose.
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Model of the Lungs
After teaching students about the function of the lungs and showing them illustrations, instruct the class to build individual models of the lungs using everyday items. Brainstorm together regarding some suitable items to use such as plastic bags, boxes, balloons and jars.
Measuring Lung Capacity
Partner up your class and provide each student with a balloon and each pair with a tape measure. Instruct the students to blow up their balloons as much as they can with one breath. Measure the diameter of the balloon and record it. Repeat two more times and come up with the average measurement for each student. Graph the results by gender and discuss the results.
Balloon and Soda Bottle Lung Model
Cut the bottom off a 2-liter soda bottle. Stretch a balloon over the top of the soda bottle and invert the balloon into the bottle. Cover the bottom of the bottle with a circle of plastic cut from a grocery bag about 30 centimetres in diameter. Keep it in place with a rubber band. Pull on the plastic at the bottom of the bottle and observe how it affects the balloon at the top, mimicking the action of the lungs.
Respiration Rate and Exercise
Have students time how many breaths they take in one minute. Check three times and average the number. Then have the students walk in place for one minute and recheck the respiration rate. Next, have them run in place for a minute before checking the respiration rate again. Discuss why the findings happen and how exercise affects the body's need for oxygen.
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