Lesson Plan: The Human Respiratory System Biology

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to describe the structure of the human respiratory system and explain how it is adapted for efficient gas exchange.


Students will be able to

  • outline how air enters the body via the nose and how the nose is adapted for this function,
  • describe the basic structure of the respiratory system, including the pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli,
  • outline the basic mechanism of inhaling and exhaling and the accompanying changes in the ribs and diaphragm,
  • describe the relationship between the circulatory systems and the gaseous exchange system,
  • explain how alveoli are adapted for gas exchange, including having large surface area, a moist lining, and a short diffusion pathway to the surrounding capillaries.


Students should already be familiar with

  • the fact that the primary function of the lungs is breathing,
  • the fact that humans require oxygen to survive.


Students will not cover

  • oxygen loading and unloading.

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