Photograph of jigsaw puzzle pieces.

CareerStart lessons: Grade seven

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Learning outcomes

Students will understand how lung volume and capacity indicate overall health.

Teacher preparation

Time required for lesson

One to two class periods (45-55 minutes)

Materials needed

  • Computer with internet connection
  • Multimedia projector
  • Athletic trainer overview from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook Optional: If you don’t have access to the internet or a multimedia projector, you may copy the athletic trainer information onto an transparency or make it into a handout.
  • Meter sticks
  • Round balloons (Be aware of any latex allergies.)
  • String
  • Scale (optional)
  • Student handout: “What Is Your Lung Capacity?” activity directions, data sheet, and conclusion questions — one copy for each student

Activities

  1. Project the information about athletic trainers (or pass it out to the class). Discuss the career with the class.
  2. Explain what lung capacity is and why it is important. (The amount of air your lungs can hold or the combination of different lung volumes. An average pair of lungs can hold 6 liters of air, but only a small amount of that is used in normal breathing. Lung capacity enables your body to get oxygen when it is needed.)
  3. Brainstorm professions where it would be extremely important to have good lung capacity. (Examples may include firefighters, athletes, fitness instructors, coaches, referees/umpires, chefs, day care workers, military careers, musicians, etc.)
  4. Discuss what factors can affect lung capacity. (You could ask students to research this before the discussion takes place or you can have the class brainstorm. Examples of things that could affect lung capacity include a person’s height, whether a person smokes, the altitude where a person lives, gender, athletic activity, diseases of the lungs, etc.)
  5. Hand out the “What Is Your Lung Capacity?” activity directions and the data sheet. Have students work in groups to determine their lung capacity following the instructions on the activity sheet. It may be necessary for one or two students in each group to be subjects with other group members recording the data. Directions on the activity sheet read:

    Your lung capacity is the amount of air your lungs can hold or the combination of different lung volumes. This activity will address two different types of lung volumes: Tidal volume and vital capacity. Tidal volume is the amount of air you breathe in or out during a normal breath. Vital capacity is the amount of air that can be forced out of your lungs when you take a very deep breath.

    Your lung capacity allows you to provide your body with the oxygen it needs. In this activity, you’ll examine your lung volumes at rest and after you have completed a set of exercises.

    1. To measure tidal volume, take a normal-size breath and exhale it into the balloon. Do not force extra air into the balloon. Twist the balloon to keep the air in. Do not tie the balloon.
    2. Take the string and use it to measure the diameter of the largest part of the balloon in centimeters. Record the number in the “resting” data table.
    3. Repeat two more times, and average the tidal volume.
    4. To measure vital capacity, inhale deeply taking in as much air as your lungs can hold and exhale it into the balloon. Twist the balloon to keep the air in. Do not tie the balloon.
    5. Take the string and use it to measure the diameter of the largest part of the balloon in centimeters. Record in the “resting” data table.
    6. Repeat two more times, and average the vital capacity.
    7. Jog in place for two minutes.
    8. To measure tidal volume, take a normal-size breath and exhale it into the balloon. Do not force extra air into the balloon. Twist the balloon to keep the air in. Do not tie the balloon.
    9. Take the string and use it to measure the diameter of the largest part of the balloon in centimeters. Record in the “jogging” data table.
    10. Repeat two more times, and average the tidal volume.
    11. To measure vital capacity, inhale deeply taking in as much air as your lungs can hold and exhale it into the balloon. Twist the balloon to keep the air in. Do not tie the balloon.
    12. Take the string and use it to measure the diameter of the largest part of the balloon in centimeters. Record in the “jogging” data table.
    13. Repeat two more times, and average the vital capacity.
    14. Convert the diameters and the averages you measured to volume using the graph and record in the data tables.
    15. Answer the conclusions questions.

Websites

Optional resources for more information on the topics covered in this lesson

EnvironmentalTobacco Smoke and Lung Development
In this interactive science experiment, students can collect and interpret data and learn about lung anatomy and toxicology.
Fun Lung Facts for Kids
Students can read interesting facts about our lungs.
Athletic Training Career Overview
The Mayo School of Health Sciences provides information about athletic training career opportunities and specialties, earning potential, and professional organizations.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Science (2005)

Grade 7

  • Goal 1: The learner will design and conduct investigations to demonstrate an understanding of scientific inquiry.
    • Objective 1.06: Use mathematics to gather, organize, and present quantitative data resulting from scientific investigations:
      • Measurement.
      • Analysis of data.
      • Graphing.
      • Prediction models.
  • Goal 4: The learner will conduct investigations, use models, simulations, and appropriate technologies and information systems to build an understanding of the complementary nature of the human body system.
    • Objective 4.08: Explain how understanding human body systems can help make informed decisions regarding health.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Science & Technical Subjects

        • Grades 6-8
          • 6-8.LS.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Science (2010)
      • Grade 5

        • 5.L.1 Understand how structures and systems of organisms (to include the human body) perform functions necessary for life. 5.L.1.1 Explain why some organisms are capable of surviving as a single cell while others require many cells that are specialized to...
      • Grade 7

        • 7.L.1 Understand the processes, structures and functions of living organisms that enable them to survive, reproduce and carry out the basic functions of life. 7.L.1.1 Compare the structures and life functions of single-celled organisms that carry out all of...