Section 3 : Respiration

Theme: Science lived – relevant and real

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will have:

  • helped your pupils to learn some science by studying the working of their own bodies;
  • helped your pupils to collect data related to exercise and blood supply and record it appropriately and helped them to analyse and interpret patterns in this and additional second-hand data;
  • taken pupils to visit a local industry to see how knowledge of respiration and microbial activity is applied.


Science is all around us. Too often young people see science as something learnt from a textbook that is not relevant to their everyday lives. An effective way of demonstrating that this is not the case is to start with the everyday context and use it to draw out scientific principles. Activities like baking cakes, growing vegetables, and mending a bicycle all involve scientific principles. Making connections between the things they do at home and the science they learn in school can help to reinforce the scientific principles that your students need to learn. Asking students about things outside school that are important can get them engaged and interested – especially if some controversy is involved. Most real-life situations are actually quite complicated and it is easy to find yourself talking about chemistry, biology or physics, or even wider issues. This will help to keep your students interested in science and help them to see how science can help them to understand the world.

Resource 1 gives some strategies that you can use in order to help your students make these connections. We want to encourage you to develop the habit of relating all the areas of science that you study with your students to their everyday lives. Try to refer to the list in Resource 1 whenever you start planning a new topic for your pupils and ensure that you incorporate some of the ideas. In this unit we demonstrate how you can use some of these ideas in the context of learning about respiration.

In this unit we start with aspects of science relevant to the students’ own bodies and their experiences at school, home and in their leisure time. We then move on to consider issues of wider importance to their own lives and to society as a whole.

Resource 5: Investigations

1. Measuring changes in pulse rate