With young children I start by taking the fist end off of a simple air toy and asking them what they see inside. Everyone says nothing is there. Then I put the top on and squeeze it and the fist pops off. I tell them that air is inside. Air takes up space.
What was the first thing you did when you were born? Hint -you do it all the time no matter where you are. BREATHE. Take a deep breath. Ask children to watch you and breathe with you: deep breathing, shallow breathing, slow deep breathing, and fast. Make sounds with children and note that sound stops when you run out of air. You must have air in your lungs to sing, cry, laugh, or talk! Can you see air, feel air or smell air? Where is air? Air is around us everywhere. It is INVISIBLE. You can’t see air. Have kids blow on their hand and feel the air. Can you capture the air? Capture it in a balloon.
Do all animals breathe air, plants, or rocks? Some animals do and some get oxygen from water. Show examples of animals and let the children say if they breathe air or water. Plants are our partners in breathing (through their leaves) Plants and animals need fuel for life. Our fuel is oxygen in the air we breathe and nutrients from the food we eat. When you breathe you take in whatever is in the air around you. Poisons, smoke and dirt in the air hurt your lungs and body and you could lose your sense of smell. Fog and clouds of water in the air don’t hurt us. I ask them if different parts of their body are alive (eyes, teeth, bones, skin etc.) All the parts of our body are alive but our hair and nails (explain: when we cut them they don’t bleed)
Do air experiments – Spray a scent in the air and see how fast it travels through the air (See who smells it first and can tell you what it is?) I take a very long air bag and ask the children how many breaths it will take for me to blow it up. They usually say 100. I blow into it from a short distance creating a vacuum and blow it up with one breath. They are amazed. Ask them if they know of ways we use air? Ex. Tires, bubble wrap, generate energy, cooling etc.
Every time we breathe our blood grabs oxygen from the air to feed our whole body. We exhale CO2. Trees breathe, grab CO2, and put O in the air for us. Examine the parts of the lung model and trace the path of air: NOSE, TRACHEA( windpipe), 2 LUNGS, 2 Bronchi, Bronchioles(“tree branches”), Alveoli( AIR SACS where RBC grab oxygen and give up co2) Diaphragm/a muscle that helps us breathe. How can we have strong healthy lungs? EXERCISE THE LUNGS and BREATHE CLEAN AIR
All the parts of our body used for breathing are called “THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM”. If we get an infection of the respiratory tract we may have a cold, runny nose, sore throat, tuberculosis, bronchitis, or pneumonia. In asthma the muscles constrict making it hard to breathe
Take a walk outside and notice signs of air around
MATERIALS: Air toys, models of animals, picture of the stoma on the underside of leaves where they breathe, air fist, balloon, dancing ball, twirly gig, fan, air bag, air pump, scent, lung model.