Modeling Photosynthesis

byConnie Scercy Wood

The main goal of this unit is to create a way to teach a rather complex process—photosynthesis—using a three-dimensional approach that provides students with a concrete way of understanding this very difficult topic. This unit was designed with upper level Biology classes, like Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate, in mind. Even these students have difficulty understanding things that happen at the molecular level. Included in this unit is a summary of the most current information we have about photosynthesis. Using this information, I have put together instructions for building and using a model of a chloroplast, to teach, and to help students make connections between the molecular process and what they are observing in the lab. There are also activities that help students enter into the molecular realm of photosynthesis through role-playing. Once they can visualize the invisible, students will have a better basis for the formation of hypotheses and conclusions in inquiry labs. Based on the model and role-playing, students could then develop their own simple models for demonstrating the variations in photosynthesis by C4 and CAM plants.

(Recommended for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Biology, grades 11-12.)


Comments (2)

    Connie Scercy Wood (East Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte, NC)
    Subject taught:
    Equation Formatting Problems
    You will see that the formulas in the unit for photosynthesis look a little odd. Apparently, the method I used for inserting the formulas did not transfer well to the website. Where there are "g's" there should be arrows.
    DULLI CHANDRA AGRAWAL (BANARAS HINDU UNIVERSITY, INDIA, VARANASI, UP)
    Subject taught: PHYSICS
    MODELLING PHOTOSYNTHESIS
    PLEASE DO READ MY PAPER
    PHOTOSYNTHETIC SOLAR CONSTANT BY D. C. AGRAWAL. THIS HAS APPEARED IN LATIN AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS EDUCATION (2009).
    D C Agrawal

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