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The Capacity of Your Lungs

This is a really fun demonstration to show the amazing amount of air your lungs can hold.

For this simple demonstration, you will need some flexible aquarium tubing (we used about 3' of it), a plastic one gallon jug with lid, a sink with a plug and a measuring cup.
Fill the sink about half-way with water and plug it so that it stays in the sink. Fill the jug completely with water, and tap it to get the air bubbles out.
Put the lid on the jug and invert the jug so that the opening of the jug is under the water at all times.

Take the lid off the jug, and keeping the jug completely inverted and the opening of the jug under the water at all times, insert one end of the tubing so that it goes into the jug through the opening. The tube should just be inside the jug, not too high into the jug.

Take a deep breath and blow into the other end of the tubing in one continuous breath (without pausing to breathe again). Try to empty your lungs as much as you can.
When you have finished blowing all you can, put the lid back on the jug while it is still under the water.

Now you can remove the jug from the water and turn it upright.


Take the cap off and pour what water is left into a measuring cup. Keeping track of the amount of water you have measured, keep pouring out and measuring the water until the jug is empty.


There are 16 cups in a gallon. Subtract the number of cups of water that were in the jug from 16, and that will roughly tell you how many cups of air your lungs can hold. 
When James blew into the jug, there were about 5 cups of water remaining, which meant that his lungs can hold approximately 11 cups of air. When Quentin blew into the jug, there were a little more than 8 cups of water remaining, which meant that his lungs can hold a little less than 8 cups of air.

How many cups of air can your lungs hold?

Sources and Resources:
  • Exploring Creation with General Science, Jay Wile


3 comments:

  1. I LOVE this! I wonder how much aquarium tubing costs....

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  2. What an interesting experiment! I remember that we were tested in school with a special instrument for lung capacity. I never thought of making one on my own :D

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    Replies
    1. Well, I am sure it is not as accurate as the special instrument, but it does give students the idea and they are usually amazed by how much air our lungs hold!

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