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

Make a Lungometer

Complete instructions for conducting activities in this slide set, including materials needed, setup instructions, student sheets (in English and in Spanish), answer keys and extensions, can be found in The Science of Air Teacher’s Guide, which is available free-of-charge at

Session 1

1. Make a lungometer and demonstrate your vital lung capacity to the class. Tell students they will be able to measure their own vital lung capacities using lungometers that they will build. If students have read Mr. Slaptail’s Secret, mention that they will be making a lungometer just like the one that Riff built. Ask students to predict how much air they will be able to blow out of their lungs.

2. Have the Materials Manager from each group pick up a clean plastic gallon milk container and lid, a plastic dishpan, one piece of plastic tubing and a crayon from a central area.

3. Fill each group’s tub (or have the students fill their tubs) about halfway with water.

4. Have each group calibrate the volume of its plastic jug by adding water, 500 mL at a time. One student should pour and another should label each level (500 mL, 1,000 mL, 1,500 mL, etc.) using a crayon. When the jug is filled, put on the lid.

5. Instruct two students from each group to turn the milk jug upside down and lower it into the tub, submerging the top under water.

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

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