5 Engaging Ways to Teach Pulmonary Ventilation that Help Students Learn

Anjaney Kothari

Pulmonary ventilation, or breathing, is the core of our existence. Understanding this basic life process requires one to know how the lungs function during inspiration and expiration. Additionally, one must understand numerical parameters, like vital capacity and functional residual capacity, that explain the physics of pulmonary ventilation.

Thus, educators need some engaging methods to introduce the students to pulmonary ventilation. Here, we discuss five engaging ways to teach your students the mechanics of pulmonary ventilation.

1. Engage Students with Interactive Models

Interactive models enable an immersive mental communication between the students and the subject matter. The students virtually demand an explanation of a topic and the interactive model fulfills that demand in easily comprehensible ways.  

Take Labster’s pulmonary ventilation simulation, for example. Our simulation offers students a chance to understand the difference between lung volumes of pregnant, asthmatic and healthy individuals. The simulation helps the students discover and understand these differences by allowing them to use a virtual spirometer. The students also learn how to calculate different pulmonary air volumes and lung capacities using spirometry results.

Looking at lungs in the pulmonary ventilation simulation,

2. Make the Topic Fun with Games and Activities

With games and activities, the classroom suddenly becomes a fun zone. Students become excited to interact with the study topic and assimilate it with their daily routine. Ultimately, this helps accelerate learning.

To teach pulmonary ventilation, for example, you can bring in a spirometer to the classroom. The students can take turns using the spirometer to determine and compare their lung volumes. You can also ask them to build their own spirometer using vinyl tubing, a plastic jug and other craft items. A fun DIY activity that teaches a crucial biological phenomenon!

3. Infuse Technology into Your Lessons

Technologies like animation and simulation bring imagination to life. Thus, when listening to lectures on biology topics, students no longer have to imagine how a certain process may be taking place on an organ, tissue or cell level. They can readily visualize it.

Labster’s pulmonary ventilation simulation, for example, uses a realistic, high-tech hologram showing the muscles and organs critical to pulmonary ventilation. The students can individually visualize the motions of lungs, diaphragm and other muscles during inspiration, expiration and quiet breathing.

Calculate capacities in a pulmonary ventilation virtual lab.
Discover Labster's pulmonary ventilation virtual lab today!

4. Inspire Students Through Career Exploration

“How often are we going to apply this topic, realistically?”, is a common question that students have, even if they don’t ask it. Turns out, learning about pulmonary ventilation has a firm hand in building countless careers. Discuss these career opportunities with your students. Better yet, arrange for them to meet with people who have already built their careers around pulmonary ventilation.

For example, organize a class luncheon where students get to interact with two or more different professionals who use their knowledge of pulmonary ventilation on a regular basis. You can invite the following professionals, for instance:

·   An anesthesiologist, who must ensure proper ventilation and gas exchange during the administration of anesthesia.

·   An exercise physiologist, who must understand how the respiratory system functions during physical exercise.

·   A biomedical engineer, who uses the knowledge of pulmonary ventilation to design respiratory support medical devices like ventilators.

5. Connect Topic to Real-World Applications

While pulmonary ventilation itself is a necessity of life, learning about it has some critical real-world applications too. Sharing these applications with your students can make them more excited to learn about the mechanics of breathing. It will also teach them how learning about a phenomenon so fundamental can have immense real-world impact.

For example, tell your students how understanding pulmonary ventilation helps optimize the respiratory capacity of athletes pursuing endurance sports. Discuss how the appropriate usage of mechanical ventilators in critical care units depends on a thorough knowledge of pulmonary ventilation. Talk about how the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory problems requires the use of pulmonary ventilation-related tests and calculations.

Final thoughts

Pulmonary ventilation may be an involuntary and seemingly simple process, but it involves a series of complex biomechanical phenomena. The methods we have discussed here can help teach pulmonary ventilation in a creative and engaging way and make it fun for students.

a man sitting in front of a computer monitor
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