Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
2-3 hours
Key Concepts
The lungs, infection, health

Introduction

Have you ever coughed, felt short of breath because you were sick, or felt it was hard work to take a breath? Maybe you have watched someone gasping for air. At times, these events can feel scary! This activity explores how mucus and fluid in the lungs or airways changes our breathing using a simple lung model. It can help you understand why symptoms like coughing and being short of breath happen.

Credits

Sabine De Brabandere, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,200 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

  • Gelatin powder; if not available, use jelly
  • Corn syrup
  • Disposable empty transparent bottle (10-16 fluid ounces) made of hard plastic (such as a sports drink bottle)
  • Two balloons (8-inch balloons work well)
  • Utility knife
  • Scissors
  • Adult helper
  • Tools to prepare gelatin:
    • Saucepan
    • Water
    • Measuring spoons
    • Measuring cups
    • Small bowl
  • Optional: A second bottle and two more balloons to make a second identical lung model
    Materials needed for a science activity that explores how mucus or fluids in the respiratory system alters breathing.

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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
2-3 hours
Key Concepts
The lungs, infection, health
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