For my steam project I decided to do a model of the trachea and the gas exchange that occurs within the trachea as well. The objective was to highlight the importance of the trachea and its structure while also highlighting the role of gaseous exchange of both oxygen and carbon dioxide both within the trachea and the alveoli. The way I did it was I used a water bottle to be the initial structure of the trachea as it is a similar shape and hold compared to one in a human. I used a paper towel to simulate the hyaline cartilage within the trachea. The cartilage within the trachea is c-shaped as it is used to both hold the trachea in place and also allow it to collapse just slightly enough to be able to allow food and air pass without it collapsing completely. If there was no cartilage within the trachea then the trachea would collapse completely and our food would get stuck and we would essentially suffocate to death. The cartilage also helps as it has ciliated and mucous producing epithelium that sweep microorganisms and dust particles away from the lungs.  The gas exchange that happens within the trachea also extends from the mouth to the lungs. The way it works is that oxygen will be inhaled where it will go down the trachea and lead to the bronchi.  The red beads represent oxygen as it moves through the trachea down into the lungs and the blood that will then lead to the alveoli so that the carbon dioxide diffuses through the blood to be exhaled. The interchanging red and blue beads represent the gaseous exchange in alveoli that will make it so carbon dioxide is able to be exhaled. Gas is exchanged in the lungs at the site of the alveoli. The exchange of gases occurs in the alveoli and is possible because they are surrounded by membranes filled with capillaries. These membranes allow for diffusion in respiration to happen. The carbon dioxide diffuses through the capillaries and into the alveoli through the same process. Oxygen and carbon dioxide are transported around the body dissolved in blood. Both gases bind to the protein hemoglobin in red blood cells, although oxygen does so more effectively than carbon dioxide. Some carbon dioxide also dissolves in blood plasma. This lets oxygen and carbon dioxide diffuse, or move freely, between the respiratory system and the bloodstream. Oxygen molecules attach to red blood cells, which travel back to the heart. At the same time, the carbon dioxide molecules in the alveoli are blown out of the body the next time a person exhales.Gas exchange allows the body to replenish the oxygen and eliminate the carbon dioxide. Doing both is necessary for survival. This is what the water bottle, paper towel, red beads, and blue beads are supposed to represent. The trachea is vital in its part in gaseous exchange which is why I wanted to portray that for this particular steam project. 


  1. My citations include the following:

    Furlow, P. W., & Mathisen, D. J. (2018, March). Surgical anatomy of the trachea. Annals of cardiothoracic surgery. Retrieved from

    Patwa, A., & Shah, A. (2015, September). Anatomy and physiology of respiratory system relevant to anaesthesia. Indian journal of anaesthesia. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from

    Butler, J. P., & Tsuda, A. (2011, July). Transport of gases between the environment and alveoli–theoretical foundations. Comprehensive Physiology. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from

    Sophia Ruppert
  2. Sophia used a cut water bottle to simulate the consistency and structure of the trachea. This is fitting due to the shape as well as the durability of the plastic which can be compared to hyaline cartilage found between the submucosa and adventitia of the trachea. Although the rigidness of cartilage was from the bottle, the cartilage was visually simulated with the paper towel inside the bottle in order to show the C shape associated with it. Hyaline cartilage of the trachea is vital for an open airway and without it we would not have the ability to breath.
    It is also mentioned that ciliated and mucous producing epithelium in the trachea have a protective function against particulates and microorganisms. The beads within the bottle cleverly and clearly represent the inhalation of oxygen(red beads with down arrows) and exhalation of CO2(blue beads with up arrows). At the bottom of the model there is a mix of red and blue beads which represent gas exchange in the lungs.
    Sophia describes the functions of alveoli and capillaries in the lungs as well to emphasize their importance to the respiratory system for the sake of thoroughness, even describing the ability for CO2 and O2 to diffuse and transfer between the lungs and the bloodstream. Overall the medium portrays the structure and function of the trachea well and in a way that is easy to understand, I found the use of beads to symbolize CO2 and Oxygen to be a smart choice. You did a good job showing how important this organ is. Great work.

    David Inman
  3. In this project, Sophia demonstrated with a water bottle the consistency and structure of the trachea. I liked the idea of the old soda container due to the fact it can definitely apply to the trachea. This choice was good due to the trachea being made from hyaline cartilage. This means it is firm but flexible like the soda bottle. In Sophia’s model of the trachea, we can see the paper in the background of the bottle, this represents the c-shape ring that humans have in the trachea. These rings are important because they allow food and air by without compromising their structure. Being flexible enough to handle things going by and through while maintaining its strong structure to keep itself standing and allowing air in the lungs. Within the model, we find color-coded beads. Red is for oxygen coming into the body and blue is for the CO2 leaving the body. A human body needs to circulate oxygen, in Sophia’s model she demonstrates this by mixing the two color beads in the bottle of the bottle. Hence this structure is allowing the exchange of gaseous material, Sophia puts strong importance on the alveoli and the capillaries in the lungs. These are vital to breathing. Sophia did a good job explaining the functions and their importance to the body. She also made it simple to read and easy to understand. She found a good and easy way to demonstrate the gaseous exchange within the trachea and the lungs. I relly enjoyed reading and like how she thought outside the box with her project, using the soda bottle and beads.

    Julia Navarro

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