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Respiratory System

This page authored by Jim Bidlack, University of Central Oklahoma, based on original activities by Ann Jadin, Fox Valley Technical College, Rick Gillis, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, and Scott Sheffield, Get Body Smart.
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This page first made public: Aug 17, 2010

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project

Summary

Discussion, along with artistic representations, are used to help participants understand the purpose of the respiratory system, understand how oxygen is obtained from the atmosphere, and list the components of the respiratory system as well as their functions.


Learning Goals

  • Explain the purpose of the respiratory system and its relation to other systems of the body.
  • Understand how oxygen is extracted from the atmosphere by the respiratory system.
  • List and describe different components of the respiratory system.

Context for Use

This teaching strategy provides a one-hour presentation, with artistic representations to better understand the purpose, structure, and function of the respiratory system and its components.

Description and Teaching Materials

  1. Explain the purpose of the respiratory system (regulation of gas exchange).
  2. Ask participants to discuss the respiratory system and how it works with other systems (such as the circulatory system by providing gases that need to be transported) to facilitate bodily functions.
  3. Discuss how the atmosphere contains mostly nitrogen (about 78%), and the oxygen (21% of the atmosphere) must be extracted by the respiratory system to, ultimately, facilitate aerobic cellular respiration.
  4. Trace the path of air into the respiratory system, showing different components of the upper and lower respiratory tracts. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=483015
  5. Use visualizations to show different parts of the respiratory system, including the nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482590
  6. Review anatomy of the lung and discuss the mechanism by which oxygen diffuses from the alveoli of the respiratory system into the circulatory system. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=82562

Supporting Files:

Teaching Notes and Tips

This teaching strategy provides discussion, as well as artistic representations of the components of the respiratory system. The introductory discussion helps students appreciate and understand how oxygen is extracted from the atmosphere by the respiratory system. Further discussion helps student learn about the parts and functions of components of the respiratory system. Incorporation of artistic representations from learning sites, interspersed during discussion, helps participants keep actively engaged in the learning experience.

Assessment

Participants may be tested on their comprehension of this learning material through multiple choice, short-answer, or essay exams. A few example questions are embedded in this Activity Sheet, entitled "Questions – Respiratory System."

References and Resources

MERLOT description and link to "Anatomy of the Lungs," which provides an artistic representation of the respiratory system and a good close-up of lung anatomy. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=82562

MERLOT description and link to "Anatomy of the Respiratory System," which provides visualizations for better understanding of the respiratory system. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=483015

MERLOT description and link to "Respiratory System" which shows artistic representations for different parts of the respiratory system. See http://www.merlot.org/merlot/viewMaterial.htm?id=482590