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Activity 2: Measure Exhalation of Air

Introduction: Whenever you visit a doctors office to have your lungs tested, the first thing they do is measure how much air you can exhale in a second. This is called the “Forced Expiratory Volume in One Second” also known as the FEV1. They will then measure the amount of air you can exhale in one breath, no matter the time. This is known as Forced Vital Capacity or FVC. For both of these types of measurements, you will first inhale and then exhale. With both of these measurements the doctor is measuring how well air can leave your lungs. When you are exposed to pollution, many things can happen. If the pollution is in the form of particles and they deposit into your lungs, you may develop an inflammatory response inside your lungs. If the pollution is in gas form, it may cause your lungs to become less elastic. This can be an issue because when they are less elastic, they will have a hard time returning to their proper shape and size when you exhale. A common example of this is Emphysema, which is caused by smoking.

Learning outcomes: When you complete this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Understand what FEV1 and FVC means and what is the importance of it;
  • Understand what affects FEV1 and FVC.



  • Fill the plastic bottle to the rim with water. Fill the dishpan with water to a depth of 8cm.
  • Cover the mouth of the jug with the lid while under water. Turn the bottle upside down and place the neck of the jug under water in the dishpan. Be sure there are no bubbles in the jug.
  • Place one end of the tubing in the neck of the jug, still underwater. This will tilt the jug, so make sure someone is holding it. Do not push down on the tube or it will block the flow of air into the jug.
  • Squeeze the air out of the plastic bag, take the open end of the bag and hold it in a circle with your thumb and forefinger. Make the circle as large as possible with your thumb touching the tip of your forefinger.
  • Take a deep breath and blow as hard and fast as you can into the bag for ONE second. Pinch the bag shut immediately.
  • Take the end of the tubing that’s sticking out of the dishpan and work it into the mouth of the bag. Do not let any air leak out. Twist the bag around the tubing for a tight seal.
  • Slowly squeeze the air into the plastic bottle. Make sure you get all of the air into the bottle.
  • Remove the tubing from the bottle, still underwater. Cover the mouth of the bottle with the lid or the palm of your hand. Lift the plastic bottle out of the water and turn it right-side up.

curriculumair2.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/28 17:16 by jwood