Grade 11 Biology: Measuring Lung Volumes Lab

This video provides simple definitions of different lung volumes followed by a demonstration of a lab used to determine vital capacity.  It provides step-by-step instructions which students can follow to find their own lung volumes.

Daily Lesson Plan SBI-3U: Grade 11 University Biology

Unit: Respiratory System

Lesson: Breathing Deeply (Lab: Measuring Lung Volumes)

Curriculum Expectations

E. Animals: Structure and Function 

E2.1 – Use appropriate terminology related to animal anatomy

E2.3 – use medical equipment to monitor the functional responses of the respiratory and circulatory systems to external stimuli

E3.1 – explain the anatomy of the respiratory system and the process of ventilation and gas exchange from the environment to the cell

Learning Goals in Student Friendly Language

Students will…

– Use their knowledge of the respiratory system and its components to determine their own lung capacity and the factors that affect this volume.

– Apply their knowledge to understanding current issues relating to oxygen transport

Materials Needed

Anticipation Guide Worksheet

Video demonstration with Projector and Laptop

Lab Materials

– Lung volume bag

– Measuring tape/Metre stick

– Lab Handout

Word Web Graphic Organizer

Time needed 

75 minutes

Minds On:

Activity: Anticipation Guide and Holding Your Breath Activity (13 minutes)

Students complete an anticipation guide relating to lung and breathing function.

Ask class to take their deepest breath and hold it.  See who can hold their breath the longest.  When they can no longer hold their breath have them raise their hand quietly.

Discuss ideas why some students could hold their breath longer.


Activity: Video Lab Demonstration (10 minutes)

Show class the video demo on how to measure lung capacity.  This video also provides definitions relevant to the lab they will perform.

Lung Volume Lab (30 minutes)

Students will perform a lab to measure the difference between expected and actual lung volumes.


Activity: Word Web Graphic Organizer and Discussion Questions (22 minutes)

As a class, students complete the Word Web graphic organizer to connect parts of the respiratory system to factors affecting volumes.  Work in pairs and then discuss as a class.

Students have remaining time to answer questions on the lab handout for assessment.

Students can work together in their lab groups.

Discussion will follow once answers are graded.


Formative Assessment

– graded lab performance and discussion worksheet

– 5 marks communication

– 10 marks application

Next Steps — Connections

Next Lesson

– Discussion based on lab questions

– Disorders of the respiratory system

Breathing Deeply Lesson Plan

Praxis Paper

Multimodal Learning with Laboratory Experiments

For culturally responsive instruction to occur classrooms must be inclusive and provide students with fair opportunities to learn and understand new topics.  Content area literacy is a key way to demonstrate culturally responsive instruction and can be incorporated through  graphic organizers, and differentiated learning.

An anticipation guide presented prior to the main activity will engage students to think about the upcoming activity. By returning to the anticipation guide after the lab activity, students can see how their ideas have changed and how they better understand the knowledge behind each statement.

In our lesson, we give students a chance to learn in multiple ways, appealing to all learning styles.  Science lends itself perfectly to multimodal learning. Through lab experiments, all components of VARK can be hit.  VARK (Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic) allows students to learn through a diverse selection of methods.  Our video demonstration appeals to visual learners by allowing them to see the lab they are about to do, aural learners through spoken instructions and definitions, read/write learners through written definitions and charts, and kinesthetic learners by performing the hands-on lab activity. All students are given a chance to learn in a way that benefits them the most.

In Biology, students will be more successful if they can understand the meaning behind the scientific terms as well as lab procedures. A Word Web Graphic Organizer will help students with connecting vocabulary pertaining to the lab. It creates a visual representation of how certain biological and environmental factors interact with respiratory system components to alter lung capacities. If presented as a post-lab activity, students will have had a chance to search their lab handouts for terms applicable to each category.  This is similar to a closed sort word sort activity where students know the categories in advance (Vacca, Vacca, Mraz 253).

One of the characteristics of culturally responsive instruction is to use groups and pairs to create low anxiety.  Students are able to work individually as well as in small groups or pairings, enabling them to help one another understand the content of the lesson (Vacca, Vacca, Mraz 73). Throughout the class, working with partners makes the experiment more fun for students. As well, paired-learning allows students who are having difficulty understanding the procedures or follow-up questions to gain assistance from peers.  Think-pair-share activities allow students think about their own answers, pair with a partner to compare answers and share their answers in a guided class discussion. Information-centred, guided discussion would benefit the whole class.  As a teacher, we can build on the students’ ideas they present and steer them away from unsupported answers. This is a type of scaffolding (Vacca, Vacca, Mraz 166).  Guided discussion can also turn into reflective discussion by asking students to follow up their knowledge of hormone use in races with implications in everyday life.

By engaging students with activities throughout the lesson and motivating them to understand the concepts through paired-learning, we can teach the content of Biology in a way that all students can enjoy and learn.


Vacca, Richard, Vacca, Jo Anne, and Mraz, Maryann. Content Area Reading. 11th ed. United

States of America: Pearson Education Inc, 2014. Print.

Breathing Deeply Praxis Paper

Handouts: Respiratory Lab Answers Respiratory Lab Anticipation Guide Anticipation Guide Answers Word Web Answers Word Web Worksheet

Andrea Gallo – 103324025

Spencer Neufeld – 104183412

Danielle Klassen – 104285369

Mike Pittana – 103145251