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TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Emma Bryce
  • Director Andrew Zimbelman
  • Producer Andrea Sertz Jew
  • Composer Dave Feddock
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Narrator Addison Anderson


Additional Resources for you to Explore
Like many people, maybe you thought the lungs were shaped like balloons and filled with nothing but air. Take a look at their insides to understand what’s really going on in there. Have you changed your vision of the lungs? Do you study biology and want make sure you know how all the lung’s parts fit together? Look at the diagrams in this article that illustrate where everything goes and how it’s connected.

Understanding how inhalation and exhalation actually work can seem a little tricky at first, but it’s not too difficult to understand when you break the process into its different parts. It’s helpful to understand the special roles of the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles too.

Breathing oxygen in and carbon dioxide out are just part of the process: the oxygen still needs to get out of the lungs and into the bloodstream. The carbon dioxide needs to make its way out of the blood—how does this happen? The process of diffusion! The alveoli are very important in this process, not only because they allow the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide, but also because they give the lungs their huge surface area. With all this surface area, they can accomplish their massive task of keeping the body supplied with oxygen.

If you want to know why oxygen is so important for the body, you should check out this explanation. Why are our bodies’ cells are so dependent on this gas to thrive?

Want to learn more about lungs? Check out these TED-Ed Lessons:
Visualizing Hidden Worlds Inside Your Body: Dee Breger
How Breathing Works: Nirvair Kaur