I love TQTs!





Total Lung Capacity

by Greg Crowther


This is a musical rendition of the respiration equation RV + ERV + VT + IRV = TLC. It was written for Biology 242 and Biology 352 at UW-Bothell.


Take residual volume; call it RV.
Add ERV and V-sub-T
And IRV to get TLC!
TLC: Total Lung Capacity!

Other Files

MP3 (demo)

music video

sheet music

Lesson Plan

Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.

An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using an audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, and/or (B) illustrating it with pictures, bodily poses, and/or bodily movements. The latter activity could begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.

Study Questions

(1) What do all those acronyms stand for?

(2) Provide a brief conceptual (non-mathematical) definition of each term.

(3) How does the dead space differ from the RV?

(4) What are the units for each term?

(5) How does Vital Capacity (VC) differ from TLC?

(6) How can Vital Capacity (VC) be calculated from some of the above terms?

(7) Considering the specific content covered by this song, is there anything important that is missing, unclear, or misleading? If so, what?

(Answers may be found on the answers page.)