Hello there, Camper! Take a moment to place your index and middle fingers just under your jaw on your neck and gently press on either side of your windpipe – do you feel your pulse? That’s your body hard at work!
Every second, our bodies are doing amazing things without us even having to think about it. Your heart is pumping, your lungs are breathing, your stomach is digesting, and your bones are growing, all right now!
What's going on underneath this skin of ours? Get ready to Wonder about blood, sweat, and tears here at the Wonder Pulse!
A Breath of Fresh Air!
Inhale, exhale...our lungs are a vital component to staying healthy! Follow the Maker Activity below to replicate lungs breathing!
- A plastic bottle (preferably 16- or 20-oz)
- A straw
- A rubber band
- Scissors or knife (An adult must handle this!)
- 2 balloons
- Play-Doh® or other modeling compound
- Tape or rubber band
Remove the label of the plastic bottle. With one hand, press the bottle between your fingers and thumb like a sandwich and use your other hand to cut the bottom-third portion of the bottle. Tie a knot in the neck of one uninflated balloon and snip the opposite end of the balloon. Stretch and wrap the open side of the balloon around the cut end of the bottle. Secure with tape or a rubber band. Set this aside and grab the straw, balloon, and rubber band.
Feed the straw into the neck of the other balloon and secure it in place by wrapping the rubber band around the balloon and straw several times. Make sure the rubber band is not so tight that it crushes the straw, though — air needs to flow through here!
Insert the balloon and straw into the neck of the plastic bottle and secure in place with Play-Doh® or another similar modeling compound. Ensure that the neck of the bottle is sealed up and that the straw isn't collapsed or crushed.
Gently pull on the knotted balloon while holding the bottle and then release.
What happens when you pull on the knotted balloon? What happens when you pull the bottom balloon for an extended time?
Why does that happen?
More space is created inside the bottle when the knotted balloon is pulled, which allows air to be pulled through the straw and into the inner balloon. When the knot is released, there is less space in the bottle, which forces the air out of the balloon. The inner balloon represents our lungs and the knotted balloon represents our diaphragm, which contracts to expand the lungs while one is breathing in air.
In addition to the lungs and diaphragm, can you identify the parts of the body represented in the activity? Where is the trachea? What about the bronchial tubes? Go online to http://patient.info/diagram/lungs-diagram to see a diagram of the lungs, then write the parts of the body where they correspond on the simulated lung.