5 Amazing Fun Facts about the Respiratory System
Perhaps the greatest of all fun facts about the respiratory system is that God made it, just like he made everything else in our bodies: “Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7 ESV) From that very moment on, the respiratory system has played a central role in the human body. You may know that it allows you to breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, but it does so much more! Here are a few more fun facts about the respiratory system.
The left lung is smaller than the right lung.
Did you know that your left lung is slightly smaller than the right lung? This is to provide room for your heart. The left lung has two lobes, and the right lung has three lobes; the volume of each lobe is affected by your height and the altitude at which you live. Bigger bodies need more air, and if the air is thinner, you need to breathe in even more of it. You can read more about some of these fun facts about the respiratory system here. Now let’s learn some more fun facts about the respiratory system.
We take around 22,000 breaths a day.
The oxygen that you breathe in is carried by the blood running through your arteries to your cells and is then used by the cells in your body; the carbon dioxide that cells release is carried by your blood to your lungs and is released when you breathe out. In total, you take about 22,000 breaths in a day, inhaling over 2,000 gallons (8,000 liters) of air every single day!
The nose traps particles in the air.
The hairs in your nose are designed to capture dust particles and other particulates that you breathe in; in this manner, your nose acts as a sort of air filter. As air passes through your nose (or your mouth), it is also warmed before it reaches the windpipe, a fact you can be extra thankful for as the air begins to cool down this fall!
If flattened completely, one lung would reach almost the size of a tennis court.
Though the lungs may not appear large on the surface, they are made up of many smaller compartments. After passing down the windpipe, air is sent into either the right of the left lung through the airways called the bronchi. The bronchi then split into many smaller tubes called bronchioles; these bronchioles lead into tiny air sacs called alveoli. The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place in the alveoli. All of these structures are so intricate and numerous that if you flattened them all out they would take up most of a tennis court!
The lungs are not responsible for inhaling and exhaling.
Believe it or not, your lungs are not actually responsible for inhaling or exhaling. The diaphragm (which is a layer of muscle between the chest and abdomen) controls the filling and emptying of the lungs. When the muscles of the diaphragm contract, it draws the lungs down and expands them; the change in pressure draws air into the lungs. When the muscles of the diaphragm relax, air is released from the lungs, and they deflate. Read more about these last four fun facts about the respiratory system here.
Those five fun facts about the respiratory system are just the tip of the iceberg. The respiratory system is an amazing part of the human body! If you would like to learn more about the respiratory system, I recommend Dr. Guliuzza’s article “Made in His Image: Breath of Life.”
If you liked these fun facts about the respiratory system, a great way to continue to increase your kids’ fascination with the human body and amazement at God’s creation is take a field trip to the nearest science museum. If you live in Spokane, Washington, where we at Enlightium Academy are located, you have a great opportunity to continue your investigation at the Bodies exhibit at Mobius Science Center. The exhibit is available through the end of this year. If you aren’t in Spokane, keep your eye out for similar opportunities in your town.
If you are looking for a school where your children can learn about the world and their own bodies from a biblical perspective, I recommend looking into Enlightium Academy, an accredited Pre-K–12 online Christian school where all courses (including science) are Bible based, and students can work at their own pace through an individualized curriculum on a flexible schedule.