The Topic:
Respiratory System

Easier - The lungs, airways, diaphragm, windpipe, throat, mouth, and nasal passages are all part of the respiratory system. Respiration is the process of breathing in and out through this system. Smoking and air pollution are two common causes of respiratory problems.
Harder - Oxygen is taken into the body through the airways, absorbed into the lungs, then transported through the body in the blood. The lungs also give out carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Humans and land animals with backbones have similar respiratory systems. This system includes passages that connect the nose and mouth to the lungs.

You probably don't think very much about your respiratory system, but it is essential for life. Every once in a while a cough, sneeze, or hiccup will remind you about this body system. A cough is the way your system clears the airway. A sneeze is caused by an irritation in the upper airway. A hiccup is a spasm of the diagram.

There are many diseases that can harm and even destroy the respiratory system. Asthma is an increasingly common disease that causes coughing and makes it hard to breathe. Lung cancer is a major cause of death particularly among smokers. Tuberculosis is a disease caused by bacteria that can destroy the lungs. TB is very contagious and affects cats and other animals in addition to humans. Most people experience minor respiratory problems in the form of a sore throat, cough, or bronchitis from an illness.
People in certain jobs are more likely to have respiratory problems. For example, airline pilots and flight attendants often have respiratory problems. Black lung has historically been a problem of coal miners.
 Asthma Wizard
This excellent, 13 chapter online book provides an overview of what you need to know about asthma.
Canadian Lung Association - Especially for Children
This website contains a section called Inside the Human Body for grades 1-3, 4-6, and 9-12 with information about air pollution, lung health, the respiratory system, and tobacco. The site also contains activities, mazes, and online games. The section for teachers contains lessons. You can also learn about Canadian Christmas seals and read their online play script. In addition to the children's section, the adult materials contain valuable information and resources on topics such as asthma and other respiratory diseases.
Within this Website:
2) Asthma
3) Information About Lung Diseases
4) Inside the Human Body - The Respiratory System
5) Inside the Human Body - Teachers
6) Sleep Apnea
How the Body Works - The Respiratory System
This animation requires Shockwave plugin, but it provides a great introduction to the respiratory system. It also discusses coughing, sneezing, and the hiccups.
Other Great Movies on the Respiratory System:
2) Brainpop: Respiration
American Lung Association
This website is sponsored by the American Lung Association and contains good information for students and teachers. The Human Respiratory section defines terms and provides a nice diagram. The Learn about your Lungs page discusses the mechanics of the lungs and links to images. You can also learn about asthma and other respiratory diseases.
Within this Website:
2) Asthma
3) Human Respiratory System
4) Learn about your Lungs
5) Diseases A to Z
After visiting several of the websites, complete one or more of these activities:
Test Your Respiratory System Skills. Watch a respiration movie at Kids Health or Brainpop. Take the quiz at Brainpop. Take another Respiratory System Self Quiz. Try the Respiratory System crossword puzzle.
Ask an Expert. Create some questions and Ask the Experts.
Trace the History. Go to the Virtual Museum of the Iron Lung. What's an iron lung? How have they been used through the years? Who was involved in the development of the iron lung?
Warn the World. Explore lung diseases. Create a poster or chart showing the symptoms, causes, and treatments of a particular disease.
Create an Asthma Poster. Go to the National Jewish Asthma Wizard and read about asthma and take the quizzes as you go. Read about more about Asthma. Watch the Brainpop animation on Asthma and take the quiz. Take another Asthma Quiz. Join the Asthma Poster Contest! Interview a personal with asthma and create a poster about 'standing up to asthma.'
Stamp Out TB. Learn about the history of tuberculosis. Why can TB still be found? How can it be stopped? Create a national plan to stamp out TB in our lifetime. What would it take?
Create a Video. What is happening in your body when you cough, sneeze, or hiccup? Create a video showing what happens and why. Or, create your own respiratory system from clay. Create a clay animation showing how the system works.
Roleplay Black Lung Issues. What's 'black lung' and why are coal miners so worried about it? Read about it at the Black Lung - Make it Disappear page. Trace the history of this problem and how it has been handled by coal miners, unions, and the government. Role play a discussion about this problem.
Compare the Systems. Explore each body system at How the Body Works. Compare the respiratory system to another body system.
Try Some Activities. Go to Inside the Human Body. Choose your grade level, read the information, and try the activities.
Explore Medical Devices. What's a spirometer? How is it used? Sometimes children get scared when faced with a new medical device. Create a poster that helps children understand it's purpose and use. Or, choose another medical device.
Create a Venn Diagram. Compare your respiratory system with an animal. Use the Respiratory System for background information. Create a Venn Diagram of your comparison.
Try a Treasure Hunt. Go to Breathe Deep! and the Respiratory System, read the questions, use the websites, and answer the questions about the respiratory system. 
Complete a Respiratory System Webquest. Most of the webquests on the respiratory system contain information on all the body systems. Try adapting one of the following webquests:
1) Body Systems Webquest (Grade 4) by P. Barnard
2) Human Body System (Grades 5-6) by J. Halliburton
3) Human Body System Webquest by M. Oxford and R. Fischer
4) Human Body Webquest (Grade 7) by C. Congdon & S. Treankler
5) Incredible Internal Journey: Respiration and Circulation (Grades 9-10)
6) Inside and Outside of the Human Body Webquest (Grades 4-5) by L. Vázquez
7) Invasion of the Body Snatchers
8) Journey through the Human Body Systems (Grades 10-12) by C. Steakley & J. Wynne
9) Respiratory System Game
10)Saving Your System
11)Sites and Sounds of the Respiratory System (Grades 3-6) by B. Menuey and
12)Systems of the Human Body Webquest
Sites By Kids, For Kids
All About Asthma (1998 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
This student project focuses on Asthma. Find out how the respiratory system works, what asthma is, and why the incidence of asthma is writing. You can even take a quiz.
Asthma Tips from Kids at Kunsberg School
This short page provides tips for asthma patients.
OrganQuest: Lungs (1998 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
This web page provides information about the human lungs including the dimensions and descriptions, disease, and danger.
Other Similar ThinkQuest Sites:
2) Respiratory System at Tour Of The Human Body (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
3) Respiratory System at Human Body Mania (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
4) Respiratory System from Mrs. Frizzlepotts' Journey Through The Human Body (1999 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
5) Respiratory System from Human body - The Ultimate Machine (1999 ThinkQuest
Internet Challenge)
6) Welcome to the Respiratory System from Human Body (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
Respiratory from MedMan (1996 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
This thinkquest page provides an overview of how we breathe. It also contains facts about breathing. It also discusses the hazards of smoking and provides a medical glossary.
Respiratory System
This page provides a graphic and explanation of the respiratory system.
Asthma Websites - Asthma
This site provides a great starting point for information and links to asthma research and articles. You can also link to illustrations.
Asthma Tutorial
This page provides an overview of asthma, its symptoms, and treatments.
Brainpop Asthma
This animation describes asthma. You can read about the disease and even take a quiz.
Virtual Museum of the Iron Lung
This page traces the history of the iron lung and its use.
More Respiratory System Websites
Airbags from Indianapolis Marion County Library
This page contains a simple illustration of the lungs with labels. It also describes what happens when you breath.
General Information on Respiratory Disorders from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
This page provides information on the respiratory system, signs of respiratory distress, inhalers and nebulizers and other information.
Human Body Adventure - Respiratory System
This page highlights the function of the respiratory system. It provides text, sounds, and graphics. This page links to definitions and related information as well as a quiz.
Other Definition Pages:
2) Allergy Glossary from Health on the Net Foundation
3) Respiratory System
4) Respiratory System
Introductory Anatomy: The Respiratory System by D.R. Johnson
This page provides an excellent overview of the respiratory system including definitions, processes, and functions. No illustrations are provided.
Review Sites with Illustrations:
2) The Respiratory System
Oxygen Delivery System from Franklin Institute
This page explains the function of the respiratory system in supplying the blood with oxygen.
Respiratory System
This page provides information on the respiratory system. It explores and compares on the systems of all kinds of animals from flatworms to rabbits. 
Your Gross and Cool Body - Respiratory System
This page provides a nice overview of the respiratory system and contains good illustrations. It provides that answers to a series of simple questions and some basic facts. While you're there, be sure to check out gross body functions such as belches and hiccups.
Visuals and Animations
Guided Tour of the Visible Human
This site provides cross section views of the human body. Do a search for "lungs" to see visuals related to the respiratory system.
CT Lung Flythrough (Download video file)
This movie shows the function of the lungs.
Henry Gray's Anatomy - Respiratory System
This page contains information and line drawings about the respiratory system.
Do a search under body systems for respiratory system and you'll find lots of great graphics.
Websites for Teachers
Body System Web lesson
This web-based lesson is on all body systems, but has a section on the respiratory system.
Other Body Systems Lesson Plan Lists:
2) Healthy Body Systems
Lesson on How to Make a Model of the Human Respiratory System
Students learn to make and label a model of the human respiratory system.
Lungs and the Respiratory System: 5-E Lesson Plan (Grade 5-6)
This lesson focuses on the parts of the respiratory system and their functions, as well as diseases of the lungs and their effect on breathing. It also explores the dangers of smoking and air pollution and their effect on health and breathing.
Respiratory System (Grade 6)
This lesson plan with questions and links focuses on the parts of the respiratory system.
Respiratory System (Grade 4-6)
This lesson explores the general functions of the respiratory system.
Smile Program Biology Index
This page contains lesson plans on anatomy. Many of the plans relate specifically to the respiratory system.
carbon dioxide
lung cancer
respiratory infections
lung disease
nasal cavity
sleep apnea
gas exchange
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 1/99, Updated 12/01.