The Lawrence Hall of Science
The public science center of the University of California, Berkeley.
Wednesday - Sunday
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
We’ll bring our science programs to you.
We partner with school districts to support science learning. We offer district-wide elementary, middle, and high school programs, either virtually or in-person.
We collaborate with a range of partners to innovate in science education. Together, we go further.
We breathe in and out all the time. What’s in the air we breathe out from our lungs (exhale), and how is it different than the air we breathe in (inhale)? In this activity, learners test to see if carbon dioxide is present in the air we breathe in and out by using a detector made from red cabbage. Learners experiment by exposing the detector to air from a balloon filled by breath, a pump, or a carbon dioxide-producing mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Step-by-step instructions are included with photos. Activity guide includes a “What’s going on?” explanation and connections to relevant science concept such as the composition of air we breathe, how alveoli in our lungs absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide, and the negative effects of smoking and air pollution on our lungs.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Activity Time: 30 minutes
DIY Human Body What's In Your Breath?PDF
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