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Elementary Science Education

Lungs and alveoli

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      Bernard Nebel

      Kids commonly visualize their lungs as empty sacs that expand and contract with breathing. It is significant to have them see actual lung structure: airways branching and rebranching like the limbs of a tree (upside down), each “twig” ending in a tiny sac (alveolus) surrounded by blood vessels. This structure provides tremendous surface area, over which oxygen can diffuse through membranes from the air into the blood, and for carbon dioxide to diffuse from the blood into the air. Google: images lungs and alveoli.

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