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Control of Human Respiration

Experiment #26 from Biology with Vernier

Education Level
High School


Your respiratory system allows you to obtain oxygen, eliminate carbon dioxide, and regulate the blood’s pH level. The process of taking in air is known as inspiration, while the process of blowing out air is called expiration. A respiratory cycle consists of one inspiration and one expiration. The rate at which your body performs a respiratory cycle is dependent upon the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood.

You will monitor the respiratory patterns of one member of your group under different conditions. A respiration belt will be strapped around the test subject and connected to a computer-interfaced Gas Pressure Sensor. Each respiratory cycle will be recorded by the computer, allowing you to calculate a respiratory rate for comparison at different conditions.


In this experiment, you will

  • Monitor the respiratory rate of an individual.
  • Evaluate the effect of holding of breath on the respiratory cycle.
  • Evaluate the effect of rebreathing of air on the respiratory cycle.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.


Teaching to an educational standard? This experiment supports the standards below.

International Baccalaureate (IB) 2025/Biology
B3.3.8—Internal and external intercostal muscles as an example of antagonistic muscle action to facilitate internal body movements

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This experiment is #26 of Biology with Vernier. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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