Visualizing Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration

Ben Geisler
Irondale H.S.
New Brighton, MN
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This is a hands-on activity that is used to visualize the chemical processes Photosynthesis and Cellular respiration. The attached sheet guides students through the process, and has many simple (assessable) steps needed to process through the activity.

Learning Goals

Reinforcement of Chemical equations for Photosythesis & Cellular Repiration... Observe conservation of mass, Demonstrate understanding of content, and model development.

Context for Use

This is a two day lab that should be used AFTER explaining Photosythesis and/or Cellular Respiration. It requires Organic Chemistry Model kits, but could probably use gumdrops and toothpicks as well.

Description and Teaching Materials

The activity walks the students through the processes of Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration. Students should be placed into groups (I like groups of 2). This allows them to collaborate without getting lost.
There are multiple check points throughout the activity that allow students to work independently at their own pace, but it is also comprehensive and builds upon itself. Students have to explain/describe/model their retention and understanding multiple times as they progress through the activity.
Personally I do Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration together, but it could easily be separated into two independent sections. Visualizing Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration Using Chemical Models (Microsoft Word 66kB Dec22 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips


The activity is turned in, and answers are checked as well as giving points for Instructor Signatures/Initials


Substrand 2. Interdependence among Living Systems
Standard 1. Ecosystems
Standard 2. Flow of energy and matter

References and Resources