Education Technology

JASON: Can you Breathe like a Pinniped?

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

From Shore to Sea: Pinnipeds are marine mammals that spend a great deal of time in the water. Like all marine mammals, pinnipeds breathe air through their lungs. In order to breathe, they must come up to the surface for air.

Before the Activity

See the attached teacher document (pdf file) for notes and guidelines for this activity.

Print and copy the attached activity document and research article (pdf files) for your class. The research article is in the during the activity section below.

During the Activity

Students will:

  • Compare their breathing pattern to the breathing patterns of California sea lions and northern elephant seals
  • Examine diving graphs of pinnipeds that show how deep they dive and how long they can stay underwater
  • Use a respiration monitor belt and gas pressure sensor connected to a TI CBL 2™ or Vernier LabPro and a TI-73 Explorer™ and simulate the pinniped's breathing pattern


  • Directions
  • Distribute the activity document and research article to your class
  • Read and discuss the research article
  • Follow the activity procedures outlined in the student document
  • After the Activity

  • Students complete the data analysis section of the activity
  • Discuss the results of the data analysis with your students