Thinkport: Every Breath You Take

Grades 6, 7, 8

Description: Students will explore the nature of the air we breathe by observing petri dishes that have accumulated particulate matter from the atmosphere. At the end of one week, using a microscope, have students count the number of particles in each square and observe particle size.  Students should tally totals and find the average number of particles.  Students will learn about the respiratory system and how air travels through the body. The class will discuss how air quality can affect breathing.


5 Star Rating:

Likes: I especially liked the discussion about who is most at risk to suffer adverse effects – good for critical thinking skills.  I liked the hands-on elements so students are constantly engaged.

Dislikes:  The font is a little small on the Research note sheet and squeezing the info onto the small sheets could be hard for some students.  Also, a more specific rubric for the lung construction section would be helpful.

Helpful Hints: .Create a one page “cheat sheet” overview for the teacher would be helpful as a quick reference guide to quickly see what is next without going back through the packet.

Missing Elements:  N/A

Additional Comments: Informative, fun lesson


5 Star Rating:

Likes: I liked the concept map students built during the lesson, the math component and how interrelated the math and science blended together.

Dislikes: I would have the students working in pairs for further engagement.  I didn’t like that the students couldn’t initially choose their own locations for the petri dishes.

Helpful Hints: I would remove the daily challenge question and have the students create their own higher level questions at the completion of the concept map.

Missing Elements: N/A

Additional Comments: This lesson can be easily modified to fit the needs of many students in regards to group assignments, video, and the student product. I would change the group size based on student classroom numbers, but an overall great lesson focusing on real-world application.