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Breathe in…breathe out. Inhale…exhale. Every day, you take about 5,000 breaths, and you don’t even think about it. You need to breathe to stay alive, so your brain and lungs automatically take care of it for you.

When you breathe in, you pull air into your lungs. Air is a mixture of gases, and your lungs are set up to absorb the oxygen. Cells in your body use oxygen to combine with chemicals from food to make energy. The process of combining chemicals with the oxygen we breathe to make energy is called respiration. Our bodies need respiration to grow, move, think, and live. Without it, we’d be completely out of gas in just a few minutes.

Make sure you take a breather to watch the “Respiration” episode.

The Big Ideas

  • Humans have to breathe to live
  • Breathing is how our bodies get oxygen from the air
  • We combine oxygen with chemicals in our food to get the energy we need to live.

Did You Know That?

  • It’s harder to breathe at high altitudes because there’s less air up there?
  • Every day, you inhale about 40 billion trillion molecules of oxygen?
  • Hiccups are a muscle spasm in your diaphragm, your breathing muscle?

Books of Science!

  • “Breathing” by Anna Sandeman. Published by Copper Beech Books, 1995
Bill Nye