High School Biology : Understanding Respiratory Organs

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for High School Biology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #2 : Respiratory System

What are the two primary divisions of the respiratory tract?

Possible Answers:

The major and minor divisions

The exocrine and endocrine divisions

The inner and outer divisions

The upper and lower divisions

The pre-alveolar and the post-alveolar divisions

Correct answer:

The upper and lower divisions

Explanation:

The organs of the respiratory system are organized into the upper respiratory tract and the lower respiratory tract. The upper respiratory tract includes the nasal mucosa, the trachea, the bronchi, and the larynx. The lower respiratory tract consists of the bronchioles and alveoli.

Pre-alveolar and post-alveolar refer to the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide between air and blood. Exocrine and endocrine refer to organs needed in the creation and release of hormones and secretions.

Example Question #3 : Respiratory System

Which list only contains organs found in the respiratory system?

Possible Answers:

Nasal mucosa, thyroid, trachea, and larynx

Pharynx, nasal mucosa, esophagus, and larynx

Pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi

Thyroid, nasal mucosa, trachea, and bronchi

Pharynx, nasal mucosa, larynx, and esophagus

Correct answer:

Pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi

Explanation:

The pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi are all part of the respiratory tract.

The esophagus is part of the digestive tract, while the thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system.

Example Question #4 : Respiratory System

Which of these structures is shared between the respiratory and digestive systems?

Possible Answers:

Trachea

Bronchus

Esophagus

Pharynx

Vocal cords

Correct answer:

Pharynx

Explanation:

The respiratory system is primarily used to transport air, while the digestive system is used to transport fluids (such as water) and solids (such as food particulates). The respiratory and the digestive systems share the region of the mouth and upper throat, where air, fluids, and solids can be mixed. This region is known as the pharynx, and is the correct answer.

The larynx is a region located below the pharynx and is the area in which the tract divides into the respiratory tract and digestive tract. Solids and liquids are transported through the esophagus and into the stomach, while air enters the trachea to be transported to the lungs via the bronchi. The epiglottis is a cartilage flap that prevents solids and liquids from entering the trachea. The vocal cords are located in the respiratory tract only.

Example Question #5 : Respiratory System

What organ is considered to be the "voice box?"

Possible Answers:

The larynx

The bronchus

The epiglottis

The trachea

The uvula

Correct answer:

The larynx

Explanation:

The larynx is considered to be the "voice box" and contains the vocal cords. Speech is created by vibrations in the flaps that make up the vocal cords.

Other parts of the respiratory system include the trachea and bronchus, which both help to transport air to the lungs. The epiglottis is a flap attached to the entrance of the larynx in order to prevent foreign objects, such as food or water, from entering. The uvula hangs from the posterior edge of the middle of the soft palate.

Example Question #1 : Understanding Respiratory Organs

What happens to the trachea when it enters the lungs?

Possible Answers:

It warms the inhaled air

It becomes wider and thicker

It divides into two separate pathways

It absorbs oxygen into neighboring capillaries

It filters debris from the inhaled air

Correct answer:

It divides into two separate pathways

Explanation:

The trachea divides into two when it enters the lungs, a process known as bifurcation. The result is the two pathways known as the prinary bronchi. The bronchi continue to branch into more and more bronchioles throughout the lungs.

The nasal mucosa helps warm incoming air. The trachea becomes thinner when it enters the lungs, as opposed to wider and thicker. Alveoli are responsible for absorbing oxygen; oxygen cannot be absorbed by neighboring capillaries in the trachea or bronchi.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Respiratory Organs

The trachea transitions into which of these structures upon entering the lungs?

Possible Answers:

The esophagus

The right bronchus

The left and right bronchi

The bronchioles

The primary bronchus and several secondary bronchioles

Correct answer:

The left and right bronchi

Explanation:

The trachea bifurcates (splits in two) to create the left and right bronchi upon entering the lungs.

Bronchioles arise from the subsequent branching of the bronchi, and eventually send oxygenated air to the alveoli for gas exchange with deoxygenated blood via adjacent capillary beds. The esophagus is used to transport food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach, and is not involved in the respiratory system or lungs.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Respiratory Organs

Which respiratory organ functions in voice production and is termed the "voice box?"

Possible Answers:

Pharynx

Epiglottis

Trachea

Larynx

Bronchi

Correct answer:

Larynx

Explanation:

The larynx contains the vocal cords and conducts air from the pharynx to the trachea.

The pharynx is the region of the back of the mouth/nose and upper throat. The trachea conducts air between the larynx and the bronchi. The bronchi conduct air from the trachea to the lungs. The epiglottis is a flap of cartilage in the pharynx that covers the opening to the larynx during swallowing and directs food and liquids down the esophagus. 

Example Question #4 : Understanding Respiratory Organs

Which is not an organ in the respiratory system?

Possible Answers:

Trachea

Esophagus

Pharynx

Mouth

Correct answer:

Esophagus

Explanation:

The mouth and pharynx are the first two structures air travels through during inspiration, or inhalation, in the respiratory system. The pharynx is located at the back of the mouth, and is the upper region of the throat that connects the nose and mouth.
Although there is a tendency to confuse the trachea and the esophagus, students should understand the fundamental difference. The trachea is a respiratory structure, which transports air and gases between the external atmosphere and the internal environment of the lungs. The esophagus is a digestive system structure, which, through the muscular contractions of peristalsis, carries ingested food down to the stomach. Thus, esophagus is the correct answer. 

Example Question #10 : Respiratory System

What is the process of air going in and out of the lungs?

Possible Answers:

Cellular respiration

Pulmonary respiration

Biological ventilation 

Osmotic ventilation 

Pulmonary ventilation

Correct answer:

Pulmonary ventilation

Explanation:

The process of air moving into and out of the lungs is called pulmonary ventilation. Cellular respiration refers to the process by which fuel molecules are converted into energy molecules such as ATP (think back to glycolysis, Krebs cycle, and electron transport). Pulmonary respiration refers to the specific process of gas exchange between the body (capillaries) and the environment (air inside the alveoli).

Example Question #5 : Understanding Respiratory Organs

Which part of the lungs participate in gas exchange?

Possible Answers:

Thorax

Trachea

Alveoli

Bronchi

Pleura

Correct answer:

Alveoli

Explanation:

Aleveoli are small sacs in the lungs which help with the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen from the bloodstream to the lungs. The trachea and bronchi are surrounded by thick connective tissue (cartilage) and thus, their walls are much too thick to allow gas exchange, thus they function to transport air to and from the alveoli. The pleura are the membranes surrounding the lungs and lining the thoracic wall, and thus never come into direct contact with air. The thorax is not a part of the lungs, rather, it is the anatomical region we commonly refer to as the chest.

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