Learning About the Power of Photosynthesis

Fifth—and sixth-grade students learned about photosynthesis, the process plants and algae use to make their own food. Plants use the sun's energy, plus carbon dioxide and water, to start the process within chloroplasts.

In this lesson, students built the molecules necessary for photosynthesis from marshmallows, representing the atoms within each molecule. First, students built six carbon molecules and six water molecules. Then, without removing or adding any other atoms (marshmallows), they reconfigured their marshmallows to show the by-products of photosynthesis. When students ended their activity, they had made one sugar molecule and six oxygen atoms, just like a plant. Photosynthesis is an amazing chemical reaction!