Dying To Live - The Respiratory System

Dying To Live - The Respiratory System

Lesson 3 of 3 in this unit

  • Secondary
  • Year 9 - 10
  • Science
  • Social
  • Disability
  • Equality
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Health
  • ...

Lesson summary

Students will investigate the respiratory system and learn about lung function as they watch clips from the documentary film Dying to Live. They will follow the story of Holly, who received a double lung transplant due to severe lung damage caused by cystic fibrosis. Teachers will lead students through a range of visual and written resources and practical components that explicitly teach the anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system. Students will also apply their understandings to model impaired lung function which may represent lung damage caused by illnesses.

Learning Intentions:

Students will...

  • know and understand the anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system, and how it interacts with other body systems
  • understand how gas exchange occurs at a cellular level
  • use practical activities to model healthy and impaired lung function
  • be aware of organ and tissue donation and understand the role they play in the process

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • recognise and label the human respiratory system
  • recall how air travels through the respiratory system using appropriate terminology
  • apply their understanding of the respiratory system to explain how lung-related illnesses cause reduced function
  • recognise and understand that organ donation is a life-saving procedure for critically ill Australians, and is an important topic to discuss at home

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

Australian curriculum content descriptions: 

Year 8 Science:

  • Multi-cellular organisms contain systems of organs carrying out specialised functions that enable them to survive and reproduce (ACSSU150)

Year 9 Science:

  • Multi-cellular organisms rely on coordinated and interdependent internal systems to respond to changes to their environment (ACSSU175)
  • Values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research (ACSHE228)

Syllabus outcomes: SC4-14LWSC5-14LW,  SCLS-17LWSCLS-18LWSCLS-19LWSCLS-20LWSCLS-21LW

General capabilities: LiteracyEthical UnderstandingPersonal and Social Capability

Relevant parts of Year 8 achievement standards: Students analyse the relationship between structure and function at cell, organ and body system levels.

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students analyse how biological systems function and respond to external changes with reference to interdependencies, energy transfers and flows of matter. They describe social and technological factors that have influenced scientific developments and predict how future applications of science and technology may affect people’s lives.

Unit of work: Dying to Live – Science – Year 9

Time required: 80 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – lead students through visual materials, discussions and basic laboratory procedures

Resources required

  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student, or device to access electronic copy
  • Teacher device capable of projecting video and other media
  • Lesson Presentation: Lungs (optional)
  • Beakers, small kitchen strainers (e.g. tea strainers) or filter paper and funnels, and at least 3 different concentrations of pulp orange juice (see full material list in Teacher Worksheet)
  • Safety glasses for practical activity and appropriate PPE
  • Respiratory System Role Play (optional)


  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Ethical understanding
  • Social skills

Additional info

Dying To Live is a documentary feature film that examines organ and tissue donation and transplantation in Australia through seven different stories that highlight the social, physical and emotional effects of being on the organ donor waiting list. The film also aims to dispel myths about organ and tissue donation while encouraging family conversations so that family members are aware of their loved ones’ donation intentions. Find out how to screen or view the film here.

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