Unit 8 Respiratory System: Spirometry Lab



Name ______________________   Period _____  Date _____


            Each and every cell in our body requires important and life-sustaining nutrients.  One of these nutrients is oxygen- O2.  In addition, our cells produce many waste products, including carbon dioxide- CO2.  As a result, our body needs a method to acquire oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide.    The lungs, and/or the pulmonary system, perform these tasks.  The lungs are actually a network of enclosed air spaces and blood vessels, which culminate in the alveoli (tiny air sacs) and pulmonary capillaries (tiny blood vessels).  It is between these two structures that the two gases are exchanged; oxygen diffuses from the alveoli into the capillaries and the carbon dioxide diffuses from the capillaries into the alveoli.  In this lab we will measure some data that can be used to help determine the efficacy of the lungs.


Pre-lab Question: 

1.  Draw arrows and indicate the direction of gas diffusion by labeling the arrows O2 and CO2.




A spirometer is a medical technology devise that measure different pulmonary volumes and values.  Follow the procedure below and measure vital capacity, tidal volume, and expiratory reserve volumes.


1.  Attach the cardboard mouthpiece to the nozzle of the spirometer

2.  Set Spirometer to 0.

4.  Pinch nostrils.  

5.  Blow into mouthpiece. 


A.  Vital Capacity (VC)

                        -the maximum amount of air a person can exhale.




  • average young adult male- 4600ml;  average young adult female- 3565ml


B.  Tidal Volume (TV)

            -the amount of air inspired and expired during a single normal breath




  • average young adult male- 500ml
  • average young adult female- 387ml



C.  Expiratory Reserve Volume (ERV)

-maximum amount of air that can be expelled from the lungs by exhaling   forcefully after taking a normal breath and exhaling.




  • average young adult male- 1100ml
  • average young adult female- 852ml



D.  Calculate Inspiratory Reserve Volume (IRV)

            -amount of air that can be inhaled in excess of normal inspiration.


IRV = VC – (TV + ERV)

IRV = _______________ml


  • average young adult male- 3000ml
  • average young adult female- 2325ml



Record the vital capacity of each member of your lab group.

Calculate the lab group's average vital capacity




Vital Capacity














Answer the following questions and graph the data from the situation above:


a.  In the above situation, what is the independent variable? ________________


b.  In the above situation, what is the dependent variable? _________________


c.  Graph the above data, create a title, and label both axis.







Post-Lab Questions:


1.  Go back to the graph and use a colored pencil and graph the average vital capacity for both young adult male and females. How does your lab group compare?




2.   What is the name of the structures within the lungs that carry gases?




3.  What is the name of the structures within the lungs that carry blood?




4.  In which chamber of the heart does the deoxygenated blood in the lungs originate?




5.  Into which chamber of the heart does the oxygenated blood from the lungs travel?




6.  Why might different individuals have different tidal volumes?






7.  How might an individual increase their vital capacity?







8.  How would an increased vital capacity impact an individual?