Bodily Defenses Image Map
This activity is designed to allow students to get a feel for what it must be like to have asthma.
A drinking straw for each student


1.  Breathe normally for 1 minute and think about what your breathing feels like.

2.  Clamp both nostrils shut with thumb and forefinger, and breathe through the straw. Do not open mouth, but make all air move through the straw. Think about what it feels like.  Resume normal breathing when it becomes uncomfortable breathing through a straw. Describe the results to a lab partner.


The basic problem in asthma is that the small breathing tubes in the lungs, called bronchioles, become constricted as a result of allergic reactions serving to make the circular muscles around the bronchioles constrict. The narrowing of the air passages is like breathing through a straw. The breathing tubes are not large enough to move all the air that the body needs.

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