Huff, puff, hop, hold, howl, and more in this exploration of CO2 and the human body!

Breathe

Scan this QR Code with your Phyphox sensor app to load the CO2 sensor settings for all activities in the CO2 Science Series.

Breathe

CO2 and the Human Body

Huff, puff, hop, hold, howl, and more in this exploration of CO2 and the human body!

Overview

Grades:
Time:

Subject:

5-8
50 minutes (PDQ’s + Experiment) 
50 Minutes (Challenge & Collaboration)

Life Science

 

Meet your body, the amazing machine! Prepare to hop, howl, hold your breath and watch databot™ take a fantastic voyage into the human lung in an exploration of human respiration!

Background

Your body is an amazing machine that has multiple systems within it that process chemicals, create energy, and enable us to move, sleep, eat, and think.  Incredible!  

One of these systems, our respiratory system, handles breathing.  It’s something we take for granted every moment of every day but this remarkable process in our body takes in air, extracts life giving oxygen, then expels carbon dioxide (CO2) approximately 20,000 times a day.  And we don’t even think about it!

Let’s explore the human respiratory system with databot™!  databot™ actually enables us to “see” CO2 levels and how changing your actions can impact your respiratory system.  Holding your breath and hopping up and down can make a big difference – can you guess which one generates more CO2?   We’ll also build a model of a human lung and databot™ will travel inside to explore the concept of air pressure in your chest – wow!   

Let’s explore further with databot™!

Objectives

By completing this experiment and conducting the scientific observations associated with it you will master the following knowledge! Good luck science explorer!

  • The human respiratory system is one system of many in the human body and it is responsible for breathing!
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is:
    • An invisible and odorless gas.
    • Exhaled by human beings in the process of respiration.
  • Oxygen (O2) is:
    • An invisible and odorless gas.
    • One of the primary elements in the air we breathe (21%).
    • Extracted from air in the alveoli, tiny sacs in your lungs.
    • Used by the cells in your body to convert sugars to give you energy!
  • Exercise, holding your breath, and other actions affect respiration.
  • The physical process of inhaling and exhaling involves changes in air pressure that take place in your chest.
  • Scientific sensors allow us to measure the scientific world around us with better precision and accuracy.

What You'll Need

  • IOS or Android smart device with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to connect to databot™
  • databot™ + Phypox App installed on your IOS or Android device
  • databot™ velcro plate and strip of adhesive with velcro
  • 1 Liter plastic bottle – 1
  • 9″ Balloons – 2
  • 12″ Balloon – 1
  • Plastic drinking straws
  • Rubber bands
  • Masking tape
  • Clay
  • Plastic bag – 1 quart size, ziplock recommended!

Important Terms

Air Pressure: The weight of the air above us pressing down.  We don’t feel it normally because it is always there, but air has weight!

Alveoli: Tiny air sacs in your lungs that facilitate the exchange of oxygen into your bloodstream and carbon dioxide out of it.  

Bronchial Tubes: Branch off your trachea and carry the air you inhale into your lungs.

Bronchiole: Smaller passages off your bronchial tubes that lead to the tiny air sacs known as alveoli where gas exchange takes place.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2): A colorless, odorless gas naturally present in the air you breathe and is absorbed by plants in photosynthesis. There would be no animal life or green plants without carbon dioxide. Green plants use energy from the sun plus carbon dioxide and water to produce carbohydrates and oxygen

Diaphragm: A dome shaped muscle-membrane that separates your thorax from your abdomen.  It plays a major role in breathing by contracting and changing the volume in your chest cavity which allows fresh air to rush in and deliver oxygen!

Exhale: To breathe out. 

Homeostasis: Your body’s systems and processes that help maintain a balance of things like your oxygen and CO2 levels.

Inhale: To breathe in.

Lungs: Spongy organs located in your chest cavity that take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. 

Oxygen (O2): A molecule formed of two oxygen atoms and is a major component (21%) of the air we breathe.  When we breathe, we extract oxygen from the air and absorb it into our bloodstream.  Our cells then use oxygen to convert food to energy!

Respiration: Facilitates the production of energy in the body through the process of breathing in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide

Respiratory System: Your lungs, airway, and associated muscles, are responsible for breathing – taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide

Trachea, or windpipe: A large  tube that conveys air to and from your lungs.  It is an important part of your respiratory system.

Volume: The amount of space a substance takes up.

Prep

Read the background information and learning objectives, study the terms, and explore the additional resource links.

Ready to get started? Let's go!

Next stop – PDQ1 – that means Pretty Darn Quick. Go dog, go!

This way to PDQ1

Educator Info

Educator Info

  • If you have not scanned the Phyphox QR code for this or other CO2 science modules yet, please do so.  This will load all the required sensor settings that are used in The Cave of Dogs; Ready, Set, Reaction; Breathe; Green is Great!; and Something in the Air.  Note: If you scan this QR code twice it will add duplicates of each sensor setting.  You can delete them using the delete function.

  • Read the background information, study the terms, and explore the additional resource links.
  • Practice the PDQs and Experiment and review the accompanying educator information.
  • Review the Challenge and Collaboration extensions if of interest.

The following learning objectives are emphasized in this module:

The human respiratory system is one system of many in the human body and it is responsible for breathing!

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is:
    • An invisible and odorless gas.
    • Exhaled by human beings in the process of respiration.
  • Oxygen (O2) is:
    • An invisible and odorless gas.
    • One of the primary elements in the air we breathe (21%).
    • Extracted from air in the alveoli, tiny sacs in your lungs.
    • Used by the cells in your body to convert sugars to give you energy!
  • Exercise, holding your breath, and other actions affect respiration.
  • The physical process of inhaling and exhaling involves changes in air pressure that take place in your chest.
  • Scientific sensors allow us to measure the scientific world around us with better precision and accuracy.

 

  • MS-LS1-3. Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells. (Grades 6 – 8)
  • MS-LS1-7. Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. (Grades 6 – 8)
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved. (Grades 6 – 8)
  • HS-LS1-3. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms maintain homeostasis.

Cross Cutting Concepts

  • Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.
  • Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions.
  • Energy and Matter. Matter is conserved because atoms are conserved in physical and chemical processes.
  • Within a natural or designed system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter.
  • Cause and Effect. Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

Engineering Practices

  • NGSS Practice 4: Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    Excerpt: When possible and feasible, students should use digital tools to analyze and interpret data. Whether analyzing data for the purpose of science or engineering, it is important students present data as evidence to support their conclusion.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms. Within individual organisms, food moves through a series of chemical reactions in which it is broken down and rearranged to form new molecules, to support growth, or to release energy.
  • PS3.D: Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life. Cellular respiration in plants and animals involve chemical reactions with oxygen that release stored energy. In these processes, complex molecules containing carbon react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and other materials.
  • We “suck in air” using our muscles is a common misconception. What actually happens is the diaphragm contracts making the chest cavity larger which creates a lower pressure zone. The higher air pressure outside pushes the air inside.
  • The rising and lowering of our chest is what moves air in and out of our body.

How We Breathe, Molly Kampf. 2018.

UC Colorado Boulder, Teach Engineering. Lesson: Breathe In, Breathe Out

UC Colorado Boulder, Teach Engineering. Hands-on Activity: Create Model Working Lungs: Just Breathe.

Serendip Studio. Homeostasis and Negative Feedback – Concepts and Breathing Experiments

Serendip Studio. Homeostasis and Negative Feedback – Teacher Prep Notes

Khan Academy Video: The carbon cycle

Khan Academy Video: Meet the lungs

Khan Academy Video: Oxygen movement from alveoli to capillaries

Khan Academy Video: Inhaling and Exhaling

Breathe Cover Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash

Lung Image by kalhh from Pixabay

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