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Content Overview

Breathing: We must breathe every day. Why? How?

In this activity-driven unit students study the structure and function of the human respiratory system to understand how it works and how to keep it healthy. They investigate the mechanics of breathing and the oxygen/carbon dioxide gas exchange that is necessary for life. Students observe the operation of lungs as they are inflated and deflated by the diaphragm muscles. They construct and use a model of a lung and a spirometer to examine the relationship of the breathing passages leading to air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs and what happens when these air sacs are damaged through smoking and emphysema. Through hands-on activities students analyze the chemical processes of photosynthesis and respiration, as well as the role of humans in carbon and oxygen cycles of the environment. The intricate connection between the respiratory and circulatory systems is explored by recording and analyzing heart and breathing rates under different physiological conditions. Students learn that body control systems actively regulate the respiratory system. The role of red blood cells as oxygen carriers is examined with respect to the respiratory system. Students complete the unit with an investigation of the natural protection mechanisms of the respiratory system and how smoking, infections, and environmental pollution can damage this natural protection. Students relate their respiratory health to environmental pollution problems and determine ways to improve both.

Breathing is something we don't usually think about unless we have a problem. Then it becomes our first priority. Breathing reviews the human respiratory system, its structure and functions, and some of it problems. The unit divides naturally into five sections. Each section has activities that are essential to the student's understanding of the content. The following list identifies the main points of the unit and how this unit relates to the student's everyday lives.

  • The human respiratory system is an engineering masterpiece. Its design and structure maximize oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide release and keep the majority of germs and particulates out of the lungs.
  • Gaining knowledge of the gas exchange in human lungs helps us appreciate the oxygen and carbon dioxide cycles in the world around us.
  • The body's control systems allow the respiratory system to adapt to changing circumstances either in the short term (by breathing more or less) or in the long term (by making more or fewer red blood cells).
  • Although the respiratory system can do a lot to keep us healthy, it can't do it all. We must make some conscious effort to maintain our health, beginning with understanding the things that can harm our lungs. Then we must do things to help our lungs work most efficiently (such as drinking a lot of water and not smoking).

Why Teach This Unit?

  • We take approximately 700 million breaths during our lifetime and these breaths sustain our lives.
  • Each year 200,000 people die from cardiovascular disease.
  • Around 400,000 people die each year from diseases caused by smoking.
  • Approximately 14.6 million Americans suffer from asthma.

(Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Public Health Service, 1994.)

As world population continues to grow, numerous policy questions arise regarding public health. For example, the effect of air pollution on lung diseases can be enormous. Many people take risks or create risks for others because they don't fully understand how the human body works. Many people assume that nothing bad will happen to them. They have not had the opportunity to study the engineering and beauty of the human breathing system. However this wonderful system cannot be abused. Students learn about how the respiratory system works and how it can fail. They also begin to appreciate how their behavior and environmental factors affect lung functions and the overall health of their body.

Questions for the Unit

Who is responsible for keeping the air we breathe clean?

In what ways does lifestyle affect how our lungs function?

Exercise and good nutrition can improve and maintain healthy lung function. Choosing to smoke or use drugs can lead to lung problems. Some industrial workers are at risk through exposure to hazardous materials. Activities such as mountain climbing or deep sea-diving present challenges to the function of the lungs.

How is our breathing linked to our environment?

Our breathing provides carbon dioxide essential to the survival of plant life. Plants provide the oxygen essential to our lives.

Unit Activities and Key Ideas
Section Key Ideas Activity

1 Breathing: Why and How?

What happens when I breathe?

  • You breathe in to get oxygen from the air, and you breathe out to get rid of carbon dioxide, a waste gas produced by your cells.
  • Your lungs inflate and deflate in response to the contraction and relaxation of the diaphragm muscle
  • Changes in air pressure cause the lungs to expand and contract.

Activity 1-1: How Do You Breathe?

Mini Activity: How Many Breaths in a Lifetime?

2 My Breathing Machine

What do my lungs look like, and how do they work?

  • Your airways are structured to provide oxygen-rich, moist air to the air sacs inside your lungs.
  • Your lungs have millions of air sacs to maximize efficiency of gas exchange. If air sacs are damaged, breathing efficiency is reduced.
  • The structure of your airways ensures that some air remains in the lungs as a reserve.

Mini Activity: Voice Box

Activity 2-1: Building Clusters of Balloon Alveoli

Activity 2-2: The More, the Airier

Mini Activity: Words from the Latin Language

Activity 2-3: Building and Using a Spirometer

3 Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, and Energy

How are respiration and photosynthesis linked?

  • Photosynthesis and respiration represent the cycles of oxygen and carbon dioxide in animals and plants. Animals breathe in O_2 and breathe out CO_2; plants absorb CO_2 and give off O_2
  • Photosynthesis is the process by which plants incorporate the energy of the sun into the chemical bonds of sugar (fuel).
  • Cellular respiration can be compared to burning candles. They both need fuel and oxygen in order to burn, and they produce carbon dioxide and water as they release the energy from the chemical bonds of the fuel.

Mini Activity: Miles = Trees

Activity 3-1: It's a Gas!- Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen

Activity 3-2: Cell Candles

Enrichment 3-1: The Drama of Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen

4 Breathing Mission Control

How is breathing controlled to match the needs of the cells?

  • The body has control systems that regulate, through negative feedback, essential body functions
  • Controllers allow the respiratory system to adapt to changing conditions, such as exercise or changing oxygen levels in the air coming in.
  • Red blood cells pick up and deliver oxygen to cells and carbon dioxide from cells as needed. Your body can adapt to changing conditions by making existing cells work harder, or by making more red blood cells to increase capacity.

Mini Activity: Homeostasis

Activity 4-1: How Does a Controller Work?

Enrichment 4-1: Using a Bicycle to Demonstrate How Controllers Work

5 Keeping Your Breathing Machine Healthy

what are some common problems with breathing?

  • Your breathing machine is designed to keep you healthy. It provides airways and air sacs for the exchange of blood gases, and an automatic cleaning mechanism consisting of mucus, cilia, and the mucus escalator.
  • Many viruses cause mucus tissue in the airways to produce more mucus-typically cold and flu viruses, Viruses can cause us to feel very uncomfortable, but will go away. In some cases, they can lead to a longer lasting bacterial infections.
  • Environmental causes of lung disease and lung damage include smoking and air pollution.

Mini Activity: Take Action!

Mini Activity: Motivating through Ads

Activity 5-1: Smoke in Your Lungs

Activity 5-2: Emphysema

Mini Activity: Advertising for Good Health

Teacher's Guide Overview

This Breathing unit is built around a variety of student activities. Text material can be used to introduce, reinforce, and extend the concepts developed in the activities. The activities are the foundation of this unit, so the unit's success depends on students' involvement in the activities. Embedded activities are interrelated, since the concepts developed in one may be applied in another.

Section Planning

For each section, you'll find extensive advance planning for the student activities and the section topic. Key ideas, section objectives, background information, suggestions for introducing activities, and the materials needed for each activity are listed on the Section Planning page. Review this information ahead of time to ensure that materials for each activity are available when you need them.

Support for Embedded Activities

Embedded activities are those activities contained or “embedded” in the student edition. Procedures for each embedded activity are contained in the student edition. In the Teacher's Guide, you'll find activity planning information, activity assessment, and student procedures and reproducible pages for each embedded activity.

Enrichment Activities

Enrichment activities are activities found in the Teacher's Guide. These activities are designed to extend and enrich students' learning experiences. Complete Enrichment activities, including Teacher Activity Notes and student procedures and reproducible pages, are located at the end of each appropriate section of the Teacher's Guide.

GroupWork Activities

Learning science is a process that is both individual and social. Students in science classrooms often need to interact with their peers to develop a knowledge of scientific concepts and ideas, just as researchers, engineers, mathematicians, and physicians who are working in teams do to answer questions and to solve problems. The GroupWork activities of the HumBio Curriculum for Middle Grades have been developed to foster a collaborative environment for groups of students. Students plan experiments, collect and review data, ask questions and offer solutions, use data to explain and justify their arguments, discuss ideas and negotiate conflicting interpretations, summarize and present findings, and explore the societal implications of the scientific enterprise. In short, GroupWork activities provide an environment in which students are “doing science” as a team.

For more information, refer to “Using GroupWork Activities” on TE. The specific GroupWork activities for this unit can be found beginning on TE.

Projects

The research and action projects in HumBio are varied and provide students with time to explore a particular topic in depth. With Projects, students have the opportunity to take a position based on knowledge gained through research, debate an issue, and devise a plan of action. In this way, students can apply what they are learning to larger issues in the world around them.

Projects for this unit include

  • Research Questions and Action Projects
  • Air Pollution
  • Antismoking Campaign
  • Plant-A-Tree
  • Mini Science Fair

Assessment Overview

Within each section of the unit there are suggestions for assessment that can be used individually or in combination to develop a complete assessment package. The list below describes the variety of assessment tools provided.

Apply Your Knowledge

Apply Your Knowledge questions appear throughout each section. They can be used as homework assignments and as ways to initiate a class discussion. These questions are designed to assess

  • communication skills
  • depth of thought and preparation
  • problem-solving skills
  • ability to apply concepts to related or big ideas
  • how well students relate their new knowledge to different problems

What Do You Think?

These Questions appear in each section. They provide students with opportunities to think and write about the concepts they are learning in a larger context. You can use these questions to assess

  • writing skills
  • problem-solving abilities
  • creativity and depth of thought
  • the ability to analyze and summarize

Journal Writing

Journal Writing prompts are suggested throughout the unit. These prompts provide opportunities for students to write critically and creatively about concepts and issues. The writing products can be used to assess

  • writing skills
  • depth of thought
  • and the ability to explain and expand concepts

Review Questions

Review Questions are located at the end of each section. These questions can be used for written responses or as the basis for class discussion. These Questions are designed to assess content knowledge and whether students can explain the concepts explored in the section.

Activity-Based Assessment

Inquiry-based student-centered activities are the foundation of the Human Biology Program. The unit is rich with relevant and exciting activities that introduce support, or reinforce concepts students are exploring. Within the Teacher's Guide, you'll find extensive teacher information, including assessment strategies, for each type of activity:

  • Embedded Activities
  • Enrichment Activities
  • Mini Activities
  • GroupWork
  • Projects

You can use students' products to assess their progress. These products include models, simulations, observations and report of laboratory investigations, role-plays, written responses to questions and written observations, student-designed explorations and procedures, poster presentations, and classroom presentations.

PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENT

You may want to have your students develop a portfolio for the unit. Portfolio assessment is an excellent way to assess the student as he or she progresses throughout the unit. Although there are many opportunities to select a variety of the student's products, the following list shows one possible assessment portfolio for this unit:

  • Written responses to one Apply Your Knowledge questions from each section.
  • An analysis of their two favorite activities and how those activities helped them learn an important concept
  • An Activity Report from three laboratory investigations- Activity 3-1: It's a Gas-Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen; Activity 3-2: Cell Candles, Activity 4-1:How Does a Controller Work? or Activity 5-2: Emphysema.
  • Two examples of constructing a model-Activity 1-1: How Do You Breathe?; Activity 2-1: Building Clusters of Balloon Alveoli; Activity 2-2: The More, the Airier; or Activity 5-1: Smoke in Your Lungs.
  • One example of an artistic creation or role-play-Enrichment 3-1: The Drama of Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen; or Mini Activity: Advertising for Good Health.

Getting Started

Keep Students Interested. Encourage the students to read the text. Every effort was made to make the text interesting to students and appropriate to their reading level.

Text material can be used to introduce, reinforce, and extend the concepts addressed in the activities. The success of this unit depends on completion of the activities. Some activities are related since the data obtained in one may be used in another.

Plan Ahead. The entire unit is activity based. You can select the activities that best fit your class. The activities are listed in the Unit Matrix. Some activities called Mini Activities are short and can be done individually with minimal teacher input. The Mini Activities are located in the margin of the student edition. The Embedded activities in the student text are longer activities or laboratory investigations that require some planning and setup time. Other laboratory investigations called Enrichment activities are located at the end of each section in the Teacher's Guide. These Enrichment activities greatly enhance student understanding of the concept explored in the section.

A variety of Projects were designed to accompany the unit. These include ongoing class projects, school projects, and/or community projects. These Projects are found at the end of the Teacher 's Guide beginning.

Launch the Unit. Begin the unit by using models, photographs, or live animals to discuss and compare different ways animals breathe using lungs, gills and/or skin. Assign Project 1 as a follow -up to these demonstrations.

Customize the Unit. Each section of this unit builds upon knowledge gained from the previous sections. Two suggested Teaching Timelines are included. The first timeline on page xx schedules the unit within a three-week period of time. The second timeline on page xxi schedules the unit within a five-week period of time. When designing your own timeline consider the inclusion of the Embedded activities first. The Enrichment activities, Groupwork activities, and Projects can then be included, depending on your time restrictions. The timelines are guides which can vary if some activities are done at home and in other classes in addition to science.

Use Current Events. You might want to ask the students to bring in newspaper clippings that relate to what they are investigating each week in the Breathing unit. Relating the unit content to current events helps the students see that what they are doing in class is, in fact, relevant to their lives. Students can use current events to make group scrapbooks, bulletin boards, and posters or to develop class presentations. Keep a bulletin board for news articles related to health.

You may want to have a “question box” available to the students. Ask students to think of questions they have about what they are investigating. They can write down their questions and put them in the box. Then, when the time is right, pull out the questions and read them to the class. These questions make excellent discussion generators. They can also be used to initiate class research projects.

Use a Variety of Resources. For the duration of the unit, we encourage you and your students to use a wide variety of sources for information. The activities provide rich opportunities for students to explore a variety of concepts; and the more they can incorporate information from sources outside the classroom, the richer their experiences will be. Use computer services for student and teacher information, networking (student pen pals, other schools, and communities), and connecting with experts in the field. There are numerous organizations that can provide audiovisual materials, literature, guest speakers and references.

Make Career Connections Some careers mentioned are respiratory therapist, paramedic, EMT, doctor, nurse, and athletic trainer. Invite guest speakers to discuss their careers. You can also invite a speaker with a respiratory condition. If you select a guest speaker with a respiratory condition to address that condition be sure to prepare your students appropriately so they will be sensitive and compassionate listeners. Prepare speakers by sharing with them the knowledge base of students.

Plan for Field Trips. Field trips to local hospitals, fire stations, industrial sites, or universities need to be arranged in advance. Contact the public affairs offices of these institutions for assistance. Schedule field trips to local hospitals and fire stations.

Address Health Concerns. Be aware of any special health problems your students may have. Some students may have special health concerns that would make it uncomfortable for them to participate in certain physical activities such as those that may require exercise. Examples of such health problems include congenital or accidental respiratory conditions such as asthma. For students unable to participate fully in these activities you may wish to create an alternative assignment or to have them use data from another group. If the class is prepared appropriately the affected students may want to share their special circumstances with the class to enhance appreciation and understanding for all of the students.

Connect with Other HumBio Units. To help students make connections between the respiratory and circulatory systems, we recommend teaching the Circulation unit before the Breathing unit.

Connect with Other Disciplines. The Interdisciplinary Web is provided to assist in your planning if your school uses an interdisciplinary, team-teaching approach. The web classifies the unit's activities and projects by related discipline-language arts, math, social studies, physical education and health and, of course, science.

For interdisciplinary planning, schedule meetings with your team early. You are encouraged to tap the talents and interests of your team members as well as of your unique school and community resources in developing other suitable activities for this unit.

Some test-site teachers have developed Fitness units using activities in the HumBio units on Circulation, Breathing and Digestion & Nutrition. Activities and concepts from these units can be combined to study the “Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease.”

Teaching Timelines

You can use these timelines as a place to start in designing your own timelines, or you can use them as they are laid out. If you're planning your own timeline, consider the inclusion of the Embedded activities first. The “Embedded activities” are included in the student edition. The Enrichment activities, GroupWork activities, and Projects can then be included, depending on your time restrictions. The timelines are guides that can vary if some activities are done at home or in other classes in addition to science class.

Given your time constraints, it may not be possible to do all the activities shown on these timelines. If you need to remove activities, be careful not to remove any activities critical to the content of the unit. You may want to divide the activities among interdisciplinary members of your teaching team.

Page references in these charts refer to the student edition, except when Enrichments are suggested. The page references for Enrichments refer to this Teacher's Guide.

Option 1:ThreeWeek Timeline
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Week 1

Read Section 1 Text

Activity 1-1: How Do You Breathe?

Mini Activity: Motivating through Ads

Continue Activity 1-1

Mini Activity: How Many Breaths in a Lifetime?

Review Section 1

Read Section 2 Text

Activity 2-1: Building Clusters of Balloon Alveoli

Continue Activity 2-1

Week 2

Activity 2-2: The More, the Airier

Activity 2-3: Building and Using a Spirometer

Assessment for Sections 1 and 2

Read Section 3 Text

Activity 3-1: It's a Gas-Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen

Activity 3-2: Cell Candles

Review Section 3

Week 3

Read Section 4 Text

Mini Activity: Homeostasis

Activity 4-1: How Does a Controller Work?

Read Section 5 Text

Activity 5-1: Smoke in Your Lungs

Activity 5-2: Emphysema

Unit Assessment Group Sharing

Mini Activity: Take Action!

Mini Activity: Motivating through Ads

Option 2: Five Week Timeline
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Week 1

Read Section 1 Text

Activity 1-1: How Do You Breathe?

Mini Activity: Motivating through Ads

Continue Activity 1-1: How Do You Breathe

Continue Activity 1-1: How Do You Breathe

Mini Activity: How Many Breaths in a Lifetime?

Review Section 1

Read Section 2 Text

Mini Activity: Voice Box

Week 2

Activity 2-1: Building Clusters of Balloon Alveoli

Activity 2-2:The More, the Airier

Mini Activity: Words from the Latin Language

Activity 2-3: Building and Using a Spirometer

Assessment for Sections 1 and 2

Week 3

Mini Activity:

Miles = Trees

Activity 3-1 : It's a Gas-Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen

Continue Activity 3-1: It's a Gas-Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen

Activity 3-2: Cell Candles

Mini Activity: Back to Normal

Enrichment 3-1: The Drama of Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen

Continue

Enrichment 3-1:

The Drama of Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen

Week 4

Read Section 4 Text

Mini Activity: Homeostasis

Activity 4-1: How Does a Controller Work?

Enrichment 4-1: Using a Bicycle to Demonstrate How Controllers Work

Assessment for Sections 3 and 4

Mini Activity: Take Action!

Introduce Section 5

Week 5

Mini Activity: Motivating through Ads

Activity 5-1: Smoke in Your Lungs

Activity 5-2: Emphysema

Mini Activity: Advertising for Good Health

Assessment

Safety for Teachers

  • Always perform an experiment or demonstration on your own before allowing students to perform the activity. Look for possible hazards. Alert students to possible dangers. Safety instructions should be given each time an experiment is begun.
  • Wear glasses and not contact lenses. Make sure you and your students wear safety goggles in the lab when performing any experiments.
  • Do not tolerate horseplay or practical jokes of any kind.
  • Do not allow students to perform any unauthorized experiments.
  • Never use mouth suction in filling pipettes with chemical reagents.
  • Never “force” glass tubing into rubber stoppers.
  • Use equipment that is heat resistant.
  • Set good safety examples when conducting demonstrations and experiments.
  • Turn off all hot plates and open burners when they are not in use and when leaving the lab.
  • When students are working with open flames, remind them to tie back long hair and to be aware of loose clothing in order to avoid contact with flames.
  • Make sure you and your students know the location of and how to use fire extinguishers, eyewash fountains, safety showers, fire blankets, and first-aid kits.
  • Students and student aides should be fully aware of potential hazards and know how to deal with accidents. Establish and educate students on first-aid procedures.
  • Teach students the safety precautions regarding the use of electricity in everyday situations. Make sure students understand that the human body is a conductor of electricity. Never handle electrical equipment with wet hands or when standing in damp areas. Never overload electrical circuits. Use 3-prong service outlets.
  • Make sure that electrical equipment is properly grounded. A ground-fault circuit breaker is desirable for all laboratory AC circuits. A master switch to cut off electricity to all stations is desirable for all laboratory AC circuits.
  • Make sure you and your students are familiar with how to leave the lab safely in an emergency. Be sure you know a safe exit route in the event of a fire or an explosion.

For Student Safety

Safety in the Classroom

  • Wear safety goggles in the lab when performing any experiments. Tie back long hair and tuck in loose clothing while performing experiments, especially when working near or with an open flame.
  • Never eat or drink anything while working in the science classroom. Only lab manuals, notebooks, and writing instruments should be in the work area.
  • Do not taste any chemicals for any reason, including identification.
  • Carefully dispose of waste materials as instructed by your teacher. Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Do not use cracked, chipped, or deeply scratched glassware, and never handle broken glass with your bare hands.
  • Lubricate glass tubing and thermometers with water or glycerin before inserting them into a rubber stopper. Do not apply force when insetting or removing a stopper from glassware while using a twisting motion.
  • Allow hot glass to cool before touching it. Hot glass shows no visible signs of its temperature and can cause painful burns. Do not allow the open end of a heated test tube to be pointed toward another person.
  • Do not use reflected sunlight for illuminating microscopes. Reflected sunlight can damage your eyes.
  • Tell your teacher if you have any medical problems that may affect your safety in doing lab work. These problems may include allergies, asthma, sensitivity to certain chemicals, epilepsy, or any heart condition.
  • Report all accidents and problems to your teacher immediately.

HANDLING DISSECTING INSTRUMENTS and PRESERVED SPECIMENS

  • Preserved specimens showing signs of decay should not be used for lab observation or dissection. Alert your teacher to any problem with the specimen.
  • Dissecting instruments, such as scissors and scalpels, are sharp. Use a cutting motion directed away from yourself and your lab partner.
  • Be sure the specimen is pinned down firmly in a dissecting tray before starting a dissection.
  • In most cases very little force is necessary for making incisions. Excess force can damage delicate, preserved tissues.
  • Do not touch your eyes while handling preserved specimens. First wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap. Also wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap when you are finished with the dissection.

Image Attributions

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Authors:

Grades:

6 , 7 , 8

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Sep 04, 2014
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