As children arrive get them to use the peak flow meter to test their lung capacity; fill in the results on a graph on the white board.



Arrival Craft:

Pin respiratory organs to polystyrene people. I found some little polystyrene people on Baker Ross, so I drew some tiny respiratory organs for the children to stick on, using plastic pins (Baker Ross sells these to stick sequins to their polystyrene figures). It was a fun craft and a bit different from colouring or labeling pictures.




Can you name the body parts that  you pinned to the polystyrene bodies?

Mouth, Nose, Trachea, Lungs, Diaphragm.

Show these to the children on the anatomy model.

Do you know how we get air into our bodies?

Our ribs move up and out and our diaphragm moves down. This makes our lungs expand, so there is less pressure inside them, which makes the air rush in.

We’re going to make some models to show how our diaphragm makes our lungs fill with air.

I made an instructional sheet to help the children with this craft. It’s not my idea, but I’m not sure where I first came across it. Possibly here.


Make models using balloons, tops of plastic bottles, cling film and rubber bands.


While children are doing this, ensure everyone who would like to has recorded their lung capacity.


Gather Together:

Can you remember what the balloons in your models represent? Lungs.

What does the cling film represent? Diaphragm.

Is there anything missing from your model that a real body has? Two lungs, moving ribs.

Earlier some of us tested our lung capacity and recorded the results on this graph. With data like this, it can be interesting to look at the shape of the graph. A normal distribution gives a shape called a ‘Bell Curve’.

Look at and describe the data we’ve collected.


Break for drink and snack.


Second Part:

Balloons are a good model for lungs, because they inflate.

But, they are not very similar in shape to lungs. Our lungs are more like lots and lots of tiny little balloons (alveoli) which are attached together like the branches of of a tree by bronchioles, all the way back to the bronchi which branch off from the trachea.

We’re going to have a look at some real lungs now. So, if you are very squeamish, or just don’t fancy it today, now would be the best time to head to the park and the rest of us will meet you there in 30mins.

Dissect lungs together.

I really love the dissection videos from Bristol Science Museum. I always encourage the children to watch them before we try our own dissection. I brought some syringes and the children were amazed when they inflated bits of lung tissue at the way it expanded and changed colour. I was able to inflate a set of lungs by blowing into a piece of hose pipe, which was also very effective, but I didn’t want the children to try this in case they inhaled!

As before, I got my lungs from Samples for Schools, who are great value and deliver very quickly.





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