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Are You Fit? Testing Lung CapacityFeatured science projectScience project video


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Experiment Set-Up

1. Create a Fitness Survey and give it to 7-10 volunteers. The survey should look like this with enough rows for all the volunteers being surveyed.



Average days per week of exercise

Typical intensity level during exercise












2. Clean the plastic tubing by rinsing it several times with warm water.

3. Fill the plastic dish plan with about 10cm.

4. Place a strip of masking tape vertically along the bottle from the top to the bottom. Pour in 10 ounces of water at a time. For every 10 ounces, mark and label the masking tape.

5. Fill the plastic bottle completely to the top with water. Put your hand over the top of the bottle and turn it upside down so that no water is escaping. Place the bottle upside down under the water in the dishpan, and then remove your hand.

6. Have your volunteer hold the bottle in the water. Push one end of the plastic tube into the bottle. Make sure the neck of the bottle stays under the water while inserting the tube.

7. For each volunteer, have he/she take in a big breath, then breathe out as much air as possible through the tube until their lungs feel completely empty.

8. Measure the volume of water displaced by reading the 10-ounce increments marked on the tape and record on the survey sheet.

9. Give the volunteer a 2-minute break between trials. While they are getting their break, refill the bottle to the top with water. Each volunteer blows three times. Record each trial and then average the three capacities measured.

10. Repeat step # 6-9 for each volunteer. Before each new volunteer, clean the opening of the tubing: in the small cup, pour half vinegar and half water to dilute the vinegar. Clean the opening of the tubing with diluted vinegar between volunteers. Dry with a paper towel.

11. Evaluate whether lung capacity correlates to your volunteers fitness level indicated on their survey. Did those who exercised more regularly and more intensely have greater lung capacity?

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    Finding volunteers and organising them to take the test may take several days. The set-up and test itself only takes a few minutes.
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