■ safety goggles

■ disposable gloves

■ 1 L bromothymol indicator solution

■ drinking straws

■ 100 mL Erlenmeyer flasks, 2 per group

■ 100 mL graduated cylinders

■ spirometer

■ stopwatch or clock with second hand


1. A spirometer is an instrument used to measure the volume of air a person can breathe.

2. Compare the diagram of a spirometer on the right with the spirometer you will be using to complete this investigation. The marking pen creates a line that can be compared with the scale on the left side to measure liters of air.

3. Tidal volume is the volume of air inhaled or exhaled during a normal breath.

4. Lung capacity is the total volume of air that the lungs can hold. Total lung capacity is 5 to 6 L. What factors might increase or reduce lung capacity?

5. Expiratory reserve volume is the amount of air that can be forcefully exhaled after a normal exhalation.

6. Vital capacity is the maximum amount of air that can be inhaled or exhaled.

7. Carbon dioxide is soluble in water. You can determine the relative amount of CO2 in your breath by using an indicator to react with the CO2. Higher CO2 levels will react with the indicator solution faster.

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