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Life Science

Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration

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Tina Alcain Tina Alcain 3305 Points

I will be starting my units on Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration soon and I was wondering if anyone has any ideas for fun, short labs or activities we can do. I have the Elodea lab that measures oxygen levels in the test tube and I just learned about a lab that uses little disks of spinach leaves to test photosynthesis. I still need to learn that one. Any advice and opinions will be greatly appreciated.

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28250 Points

Hi Tina -

Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration can be difficult topics for students, so it's terrific that you are searching for creative teaching ideas.

You could create a simple 'kinestic activity' model of the steps of each of these chemical reactions, mix-up the steps and then have the students walk and talk themselves through it in groups.

Here are a few NSTA journal Articles you may find helpful:

3-D Teaching Models for All

Building Leaves & an Understanding of Photosynthesis


Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28250 Points

Hi Tina - Also, search for interactive online games and videoclips. This can engage students and be used for review. Dorothy

Jennifer Rahn Jennifer Rahn 67955 Points

Hi all,

Just wanted to let you know that NSTA has produced a photosynthesis collection also. I cannot find the collections in the list of available resources, but this is a link to the collection.
Photosynthesis - High Collection

The collection contains materials for understanding the chemistry and biology of photosynthesis, as well as information integrating photosynthesis with higher level processes.

Lynn Yamada Lynn Yamada 3020 Points

Hi Tina, I have done the photosynthesis leaf lab with my AP Biology students. (I've attached the teacher and student version). It's something I may try to incorporate with my Honors Biology students- not sure my regular students will understand the lab. I've also done the leaf chromatography where they compare red leaves and green leaves. Another activity I've used is buying an inexpensive kit that uses beads to help the students manipulate the molecules involved in the two processes. We bought one kit and just made the rest with beads we had from previous labs. On YouTube I've used videos from Bozeman biology. He explains the processes well and they're short. Hope this helps! lynn


Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28250 Points

Hi Lynn - Love the Bozeman Biology YouTube vidoeclips. Very accessible for students. Do you know, is he teaching high school general Biology, AP Biology or College Biology? Thanks! Dorothy

Lynn Yamada Lynn Yamada 3020 Points

Hi Dorothy- I'm not sure if he's teaching- I know he was teaching regular bio and AP Bio. Yes, I've been very successful in my AP Biology course in "flipping" he classroom; assigning students to watch the videos as a review and having them take notes, then talking about the concepts in class. It also is something I plan for my Honors Bio course- especially since for the Common Core, they'll be asked to take notes on a video clip and answer questions.

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28250 Points

Hi Lynn - Thanks for the updated inforamtion on the Bozeman Biology videos. You have some terrific teaching ideas for "flipping the classroom". I also like the way you are tying videos & note taking in to the Common Core Standards. Dorothy

Amanda Wolfe Amanda Wolfe 16375 Points

Hi Lynn, Thank you for sharing the lesson plan for photosynthesis. I may do a variation of this in my upcoming unit on cell energy. I really appreciated the suggestion on including background building lessons on light and the inverse square law. Regards, Amanda

Erin Nelson Erin Nelson 10 Points

Hello! I would like to suggest the Ruby Realm Flash video game. Students "build" glucose and can play from home. Hope this helps! ~Erin

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