Photosynthesis: How do plants make food?

3rd - 4th

Students study why plants are green and how water is transported in them. They examine how plants respond to different amounts of light.

Resource Details

Life Science
Instructional Design
Inquiry-Based Learning
Michigan Reach Out

What Should I Know About Photosynthesis

This four-page handout would work great as a reading guide or note-taking resource for teens learning about ATP, photosynthesis, the key scientists in the realm of photosynthesis, and more. It is designed to accompany a certain textbook, but should fit well with most resources that comprehensively cover this topic. 

The Mysterious Plant Caper

Students investigate the basic parts of plant and that plants are living things which require water, air, light and nutrients for survival. They do this through a series of scientific experiements and multi-curricular hands-on activities.

Plants Alive!  How Plants Grow and Move

Students explore how plants move in response to the environment. In this plant instructional activity, students engage in three different experiments to investigate how plants grow and move. Resources available in English and French.

Evidence of Photosynthesis

Hands on science is the way to go! Learners conduct a lab experiment to help them explain how plants make food through photosynthesis. They test for the presence of starch in leaves using iodine solution and identify the basic things plants need to produce food. Includes helpful teacher notes.

Rooting Into the Soil: Examining the Relationship Between Plants, Soil, And Water

Students, in groups, conduct an experiment to compare how water moves through different soils. They discuss how different soils could have an impact on different plants.

What Plants Need

Students plant seeds in milk cartons, over the next two weeks, they watch the plants closely to see how they grow and change. They keep a photo journal to record the growth of the plant.

Why Plants Are Green

Students discover the properties of chlorophyll in plants. In this plant biology instructional activity, students conduct an experiment to find where the chlorophyll in the plant is located. Students are split into small groups and study plant parts. Additionally, students study what happens to each plant part when sprayed with acetone. In their small groups, students infer what part of the plant contains the chlorophyll based on the reaction with the acetone. Students fill out a result chart.

Why Are Plants Green?

Students smash plant parts and wait for visibility of chlorophyl to show why plants turn green. In this green plants lesson plan, students use acetone and filter paper for this experiment.

Transportation in Plants

Students investigate how plants transport water and nutrients through the plant. In this transportation in plants lesson plan, students use glass tubing, celery stalks, food coloring and leaves from plants to observe adhesion and cohesion of water up the tube and stalk. They also observe the stomata in plants and explain the transpiration theory of how water moves in and out of the cells.


Students conduct a variety of experiments on photosynthesis. In this biology lesson, students identify the factors required for the process to occur. They perform computerized experiments to test the amount of oxygen produced when plants are exposed to different light sources.

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