Respiratory system and lung structure teaching resources

Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about lungs and the respiratory system (GCSE and Key Stage 3)

Relating structure to function is an important area of biology. Take time to review the meaning of the term structure and function – and not through definitions! Use common examples to help students understand e.g. describe the structure of a house. How does each structure relate to its function? i.e. windows, doors and walls? The video below shows Paul Alexander, one of the last few remaining polio survivors, being kept alive by an iron lung—half-century-old machines that force inhabitants to breathe.

Where to start?

Ask individual students to come to the front of the class and measure their lung capacity using a peek flow meter. Best for these to be volunteers. This can then begin a discussion as to why students have different lung volumes and you can then introduce the different parts of the breathing system.

Structure and function of the human lung

GCSE worksheet on the structure and function of the human lung. This DART – directed activities related to texts (DARTs) encourages student interaction with a text describing lung function and structure. Students use a labelled diagram of a lung to complete some text, and then use the text to annotate the lung diagram including trachea, ribs, bronchioles, diaphragm, intercostal muscles and alveoli. This resource was contributed by Jill White. Click here for more information on DARTs. (PDF)


Click here for teaching resources on respiration

  1. Digestive system
  2. Heart and the circulatory system
  3. Nerves and hormones
  4. Respiratory system and lung structure
  5. Reproduction in humans
  6. Skeletal system

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