Photosynthesis in Action Teacher's Page
A  WebQuest for Grades 9 - 12, WebQuest Agricultural Series by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University

People and plants have coexisted for thousands of years. Plants are a lot like people but different in key ways. Plants are able to make their own food to survive and grow.

The students' task is to learn about the process of photosynthesis where the plant makes its own food. They will learn about the photosynthesis process then use their knowledge to complete three tasks related to photosynthesis. They will also have the opportunity to test their comprehension of photosynthesis using online games.

Step 1: Background plant cell knowledge is important in learning photosynthesis. An interactive plant cell model can help the student get a better grasp on the make up of the plant. They can also print out and identify parts of a leaf. A plant cell diagram is helpful for reference. Here are the basic things they need to know:

Cuticle- the thin waxy outer covering a a leaf
Stomata- located on the undersides of leaves to regulate water vapor, oxygen and carbon dioxide in the leaf. It is controlled by guard cells that surround the stoma.
Chloroplasts- this is where photosynthesis occurs.

Step 2. The process of photosynthesis is a lot like the recipe for baking a cake. There are certain ingredients needed to make the end product-- a cake. Students will make a list of ingredients needed to bake a cake. Use this activity sheet to help make a list.

Step 3. The Photosynthesis Recipe. The formula or "recipe" for photosynthesis is Carbon Dioxide + Water yields Sugar + Oxygen in the presence of light. The scientific formula is located here. Carbon dioxide is given off when humans exhale. Water is needed for all plants to grow. The process occurs within the plant cell in the chloroplasts in the presence of light. This reaction yields sugar, which is the plant food, and oxygen, which is what humans inhale when we breathe. At the following website, students can see how we as humans influence this process by the air we inhale and exhale and also when we help water plants. This song can be used to help them remember the photosynthesis process.

Magic School Bus Interactive Video
Background Info
Background Info

Step 4: Watch a video on photosynthesis. The following videos help bring photosynthesis to life.

National Geographic Video

How Stuff Works Video

Step 5: Play the Photosynthesis Games

Photosynthesis Formula Game

Photosynthesis Jeopardy Only complete the questions in the photosynthesis category.

Step 6: Complete the three assignments below. The best way to complete the assignments below is to divide the class into 3 groups or stations. Rotate each group through each station. You can assign members of each group the following roles: leader, writer, presenter and gopher.

Assignment 1: Chemical Equations. Use this website to print off the chemical equation worksheet to test your balancing skills. You can also balance the photosynthesis formula. An answer sheet is available on the website above.

CO2 + H2O --> C6H12O6 + O2

Assignment 2: Photosynthesis Experiment. Use this Activity Sheet to create an experiment that affects photosynthesis in plants. An example is found here. (Sorry but this activity sheet is not currently available. We are contacting the author to correct this problem.)

Assignment 3: Photosynthesis Model. Using craft materials create a 3-D model of photosynthesis. Any craft items can be used. Examples include balloons, string, popsicle sticks, cotton balls, colored paper, etc. At the end of the assignment students should present their models to the class.


Rubric for Photosynthesis Model Projects


7 pts.

5 pts.

2 pts.

0 pts.

3-D Model All parts of the model are 3-D. Most parts of the model are 3-D Some parts of the model are 3-D. No parts of the model are 3-D.
Photosynthesis Formula All parts of the photosynthesis formula are displayed. 1 part of the photosynthesis formula is missing. 2 parts of the photosynthesis formula is missing. 3 or more parts of the photosynthesis formula is missing.
Creativeness The model is creative and utilizes different craft supplies. The model is somewhat creative and utilizes different craft supplies. The model is somewhat creative and does not utilize different craft supplies. No creativity or effort was put into the model.


Rubric for Photosynthesis Experiment Projects


7 pts.

5 pts.

2 pts.

0 pts.

Use of Plant A plant is involved in the experiment. N/A N/A No plant is involved in the experiment.
Realistic The experiment is very realistic and can be completed by any high school age student. The experiment is somewhat realistic and could be more realistic with minor changes. The experiments is somewhat realistic and could be more realistic with major changes. The experiment is not realistic.
Procedure and Directions All directions and procedures are lined out properly with no steps missing. Directions and procedures are listed with minor steps missing. Directions and procedures are listed with major steps missing. No directions or procedures are listed.

Missouri Grade-Level Expectations


  • Develop and apply skills and strategies to the reading process


  • Living Organisms
  • Ecology
  • Scientific Inquiry

National Education Standards


  • Ability necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • Understanding about scientific inquiry
  • The cell
  • Interdependence of organisms
  • Behavior of organisms

Basic Operations and Concepts

  • Students demonstrate a sound understanding of the nature and operation of technology systems.
  • Students are proficient in the use of technology.

Technology Productivity Tools

  • Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences.
  • Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.

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This page was developed by Ashley Noblitt, reviewed by Lyndon and the late Barbara Irwin and maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau. Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau.