Reflection: Staircase of Complexity Photosynthesis - Section 3: Guided Practice


Scaffolding Content:

Photosynthesis is a process that cannot be observed taking place, at least not in an elementary classroom.  In order to help students understand the process, it is important to build on prior knowledge and scaffold the content.  I begin by reviewing parts of a plant from the previous lesson.  Without understanding the role of each part, it would be more difficult to understand how all ingredients necessary for photosynthesis are obtained.  While reviewing parts of a plant, I am tracing the flow of water from the roots, up the stem, and to the leaves where is is combines with carbon dioxide and light energy.  This helps students understand that the leaves is where photosynthesis occurs. 

After reviewing the parts of a plant, I introduce the transformation of light energy to chemical energy and we discuss how the bonds of the carbon dioxide and water are broken and rearranged to create something new.  This is also review from our unit on matter.  

During the Explore section this lesson, students have the opportunity to see the process of photosynthesis in two different ways.  We diagram the process, and then we make a bracelet which matches colored beads with certain aspects of the process.  This helps students remember the components that are required for photosynthesis and those that are produced by having something to manipulate.  They really enjoy seeing their UV bead change color outside which signifies the change that occurs during photosynthesis.  

The final step is to allow students to apply what they have learned independently and to make further connections.  We have not yet discussed how the energy stored in plants is transferred to animals but one of the assessment questions asks them to make this connection.  This helps guide my instruction and determine how much review needs to be done in that lesson to help them make the connection to other content. 

  Scaffolding Content
  Staircase of Complexity: Scaffolding Content
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Unit 3: Transfer of Energy and Matter Through Organisms in an Ecosystem
Lesson 8 of 14

Objective: SWBAT identify the three things needed by plants for photosynthesis and the two things produced from photosynthesis.

Big Idea: Students diagram photosynthesis and make bracelets to help them remember the process.

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