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ERIC Number: EJ907625
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-1043-4046
A Qualitative Analogy for Respiratory Mechanics
Baptista, Vander
Advances in Physiology Education, v34 n4 p239-243 Dec 2010
The geometric configuration and mechanical properties of the integral elements of the respiratory system, as well as the modus operandi of the interacting parts in the ventilation process, comprise a hard-to-visualize system, making the mechanics of pulmonary ventilation a confusing topic for students and a difficult task for the teacher. To clarify, consolidate, or even gain a broader view of this issue, didactic models using balloons, a bottle of water, a glass cylinder, and computer software have been described in the literature, providing excellent pedagogical tools. However, these tools are designed to be applied after a theoretical approach to the issue has already been given in the classroom. In this article, the author presents an analogy for respiratory mechanics to improve and facilitate the learning-teaching process during theoretical classes. The features of two very familiar elements, syringes and springs, and their predictable behaviors are systematically mapped onto the interacting parts of the respiratory system and the ventilation process. The design of the model helps students to visualize the configuration of the various components of the respiratory system, and the analogical reasoning guides their understanding of how these elements interact with each other during the ventilation process. (Contains 4 figures.)
American Physiological Society. 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814-3991. Tel: 301-634-7164; Fax: 301-634-7241; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A