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Lungometer: Vital Lung Capacity

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, Barbara Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

How Much Air Can You Exhale?

To focus students’ attention, ask, Have you ever wondered how much air your lungs can hold? Instruct students to take a deep breath and notice how large their chests become as their lungs fill with air. Then have students exhale completely and notice how their chests decrease in size as air leaves their lungs. 

Being a discussion about lung capacity by asking, Is there still air left in your lungs after you breathe out? Tell the students that there always is some air in the lungs and airways.

Ask, Can everyone hold the same amount of air in their lungs? Tell students that each person has a different lung capacity and mention that lung disease and smoking decrease a person’s lung capacity.

Finally, tell students that they will be measuring their own lung capacity using “lungometers” that they will build. 


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Numbers: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932


Houston Endowment Inc.

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education