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Life Science

Photosynthesis and Respiration Resources

Author Post
Michelle Amorin Michelle Amorin 310 Points

Hi, I'm about to teach photosynthesis and respiration to my students and I need help finding worksheets, activities, and resources on the topics. This year I'm trying to go more in depth and teach it in detail like the electron transport chain and Krebs cycles. I appreciate any help.

Sara Kinyon Sara Kinyon 2100 Points

What grade level are you teaching? One great site I use for introduction to a new topic is brainpop. There is a brainpop and brainpop jr. site. They show great introductory videos on many topics. Not sure if this would work for your grade level but just an idea to get started. :)

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92326 Points

There's another discussion thread with a few excellent resources on this topic under Life Science > Photosynthesis for Middle School
For high school resources in the Learning Center, I did a search that produced 18 items. Here are two that I thought might be of particular help to you:
Science Object: Cells & Chemical Reactions: Photosynthesis
Book Chapter: Flow of Energy and Matter: Photosynthesis
I hope this helps.
P.S. I almost forgot, the NSTA Learning Center Online Advisors have made a high school collection of resources that include photosynthesis - it is entitled:
Cells and Chemical Reactions High(School) Collection

Kara Kitamura Kara Kitamura 360 Points

I am in the same situation. I actually did the sci pack for this and there was a lot of information but no real ideas for helping the students really learn this complex subject. Last year I created a drawing of the steps of photosynthesis and had the students color and label it. It seemed to help but still not perfect.

Kara Kitamura Kara Kitamura 360 Points

In my effort to improve my respiration lesson, I found a couple resources. This is an animation. It takes a little long but really does a great job This is a video of a cellular respiration song that is dorky but makes learning fun

Kathryn Kennedy Kathryn Kennedy 9065 Points

Hi all -

PBS has a great resource for introducing photosynthesis called 'Illuminating Photosynthesis'.

There are a couple of other interactive activities on the website that are really great.


Kathryn Kennedy Kathryn Kennedy 9065 Points

Another idea I just had after re-reading Kara's post is why not have the students create a coloring or drawing of the steps of photosynthesis? This could be a great summative assessment in place of an exam. Or students could use a concept map program to create their own concept map or make a Prezi. Just another way to incorporate technology.

Kayla Anselmi Kayla Anselmi 3400 Points

I like to use interactive science notebooks in my class and during my photosynthesis unit, I give my students this page. They have to cut out the parts of a chloroplast and glue them into their notebook in the right order to show the process of photosynthesis. Its a great assessment tool to check for their understanding of the process.


Kayla Anselmi Kayla Anselmi 3400 Points

One other activity that I like is this game board for photosynthesis and cellular respiration. You can print off enough game boards for small groups of students to work together, and one at a time students have to draw one of the playing cards and place it on the game board where it belongs. Its great practice for them, and my kids really enjoy it.

Kara Kitamura Kara Kitamura 360 Points

Thanks this!

Mrs Hawk Catherine Hawkins 2400 Points

I have been able to check out some of the resources posted here during the week. I really enjoyed the PBS photosynthesis website and also the photosynthesis board game! What great resources for teaching the process. My first and second graders just did a school assembly where they acted out the process (on a simple level) It was exciting for them and I know they understand the process (at the first and second grade level!) It was fun! Thanks to all of the great posts, I was able to have an excellent and engaging unit on photosynthesis during our plant explorations.

Megan Dehning Megan Dehning 390 Points

I am a big fan of hands-on investigations for photosynthesis and respiration. I teach middle school science and absolutely LOVE the lessons laid out by Irene Salter in "My Science Box" The flow of lessons is fantastic, and really enables the students to discover the information themselves through investigation rather than simply being told. I highly recommend teachers check out her lessons, as she has a range for grades 1-12!

Kathryn Kennedy Kathryn Kennedy 9065 Points

Hi Kayla - Thank you so much for sharing your photosynthesis and cell respiration resources! They are excellent. What do you do for summative assessments for this unit? Do you have students do anything other than take an exam? Do you make them put together a board game in which they need to demonstrate their knowledge of what they learned from your games, but to take it a step farther? I would love to hear what you do to assess student learning. Cheers! Kathryn

Mrs Hawk Catherine Hawkins 2400 Points

Hi! The my science website that Megan posted is full of great stuff. I especially like the curriculum boxes and have already been scientifically inspired! Thanks for all the wonderful resources.

Michelle Amorin Michelle Amorin 310 Points

Thank you all for your responses. I really enjoyed the photosynthesis/respiration game and the different websites that everyone shared. I've also found this website,, which is great for many different subjects in biology and chemistry. It has a great list of activities, labs, and links.

Gerry Clarin Gerry Clarin 2125 Points

Thanks so much for the resources, I too have found this subject one of the harder ones to teach. The visuals and interactive websites offered on this thread are outstanding. I particularly like WH freeman flash that breaks down the krebs cycle.

Erin Bullock Erin Bullock 4350 Points

I am also teaching a lesson on photosynthesis for fifth grade. I am a big believer in constructivist learning so other than the great idea of drawing the process ( for a summative assessment), are there any other lesson plans that help students build upon previous knowledge of plants?

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92326 Points

Hi Erin and Welcome to the discussion threads!
The Science and Children journal for the month and year Feb 2009 has several articles about plants. You can look them over and download any into your 'My Library' that you want to read. Just scroll down to the Feb 2009 journal issue and click on Articles for Purchase in this Journal: 12 (View Articles) to see all 12 titles. This article sounded particularly interesting: Honeybees, Butterflies, and Ladybugs: Partners to Plants

Lori Perez Lori Perez 610 Points

I'm new to these Community Forums and I am so glad I found your post about the Science and Children journal articles. Thank you for the recommendation. I am looking for new resources for Life Science and particularly plants so this is very helpful.

Kathryn Mattila Kathryn Mattila 2625 Points

I feel like I hit the jackpot. I will be teaching about photosynthesis and cellular respiration soon and really wanted to go a little more in-depth with my students.

Dina Laroue Dina Laroue 100 Points

Hi, I teach freshman biology I. My students are not the honor students, but instead are the middle to lower students along with being an inclusion class. I need some ideas for teaching high school level subjects but to these students who are lower level students. With all the standards and tests I have to cover and teach in a year, I don't have the time to spend that I need to in order to get these kids to understand. On top of all this, I am a first year teacher, so I need some help and advice! Thanks, Dina

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