Human Biology students at Columbia-Greene Community College are currently conducting at-home experiments as part of their study of vital capacity — the maximum volume of air one can exhale after maximal inhalation — under the direction of Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Melissa Boles, Ph.D.
Boles explained the experiment helps teach the concept by having students work with a (willing) participant to measure the amount of air exhaled into a balloon while standing, and again while laying down. Students are asked to form a hypothesis regarding the experiment’s outcome prior to starting, and the balloons’ diameters are measured, compared, and the percentage of change calculated.
To adapt the unit of study to today’s largely virtual teaching environment at C-GCC, Boles produced a YouTube video illustrating how the experiment is conducted, where anyone wishing to try to their hand can leave their findings in the comments. She also charged her students with sharing photos of their own work in action, which are being shared on the College’s social media using the hashtag #CoGreeneScience!
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