Photosynthesis is a crucial biological process that sustains life on Earth. Photosynthesis often gets its own chapter, but it’s a topic that spans many units in biology (climate change, taxonomy, biodiversity).
Basic level students can find the topic of photosynthesis intimidating, especially if they have no prior learning in basic chemistry.
For freshman and introductory level students, I keep photosynthesis fairly simple. We do cover the light dependent and independent reactions, but do not go into great detail about either. The unit also includes a microscope lab where students view the stomata of leaves. We also do a lab with algae beads where photosynthesis can be observed directly.
You can find all of the resources for this chapter at the Biology 1 page. You can find Google presentation slides, laboratory investigations, and practice quizzes there. HHMI has an excellent video that covers the basics of photosynthesis.
The Vocabulary of Photosynthesis
Students practice vocabulary related to photosynthesis with this worksheet. Word bank has a list of words used in the chapter and students fill in the blanks to complete sentences. I generally use these as in-class activities. Students work together for 15 minutes to answer the questions. Then I project the worksheet on the board and have students come up to the board and write the answers down for the class to check. Kids love writing on the whiteboard!
The final section includes a simple graphic showing a plant. Students write in the reactants and products of photosynthesis: water and carbon dioxide –> oxygen and glucose.