Reflection: Checks for Understanding Floating Spinach: Investigating Photosynthesis - Section 6: Closure: What did we learn? Where do we go from here?


Despite the hiccups with having to hurriedly prep the spinach leaves, students made the cause and effect connection between the tested factors and the performance of photosynthesis. To do so, students needed to understand the nature of enzymes, the general structure of the chloroplast, and the concept of transformation of energy (light --> sugar with an oxygen byproduct). In the first student's Spinach Exit Task response she claimed that salt negatively affected the transformation of light energy into oxygen ("it was delayed"). She cited evidence to the effect that the floating of the leaves was slowed inferring that the production of oxygen was negatively affected. She reasoned that the enzyme was denatured by the salt added to the spinach leaves; reference to the control group (no salt) was implied and would have been a stronger response had she mentioned this.

In the second sample, the student posited several claims along the same lines, the main thrust being that "enzymes in plants are what make photosynthesis happen and cause chemical reactions." She goes on to state that (in the presence of lemon juice) "the spinach did not rise to the top (evidence), meaning it did not photosynthesize (inference)". Her reasoning rests on the fact that "lemon juice killed the spinach enzymes. Denatured enzymes cannot perform photosynthesis..."

Despite referring to enzymes as being 'killed' (a very minor faux pas despite the odd behavior or prions) both students show clearly that they understand this essential science concept (conservation of matter and energy) as applied to life science! Way to go!

  Checks for Understanding: Landing the plane...and it went so smoothly!
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Floating Spinach: Investigating Photosynthesis

Unit 2: 2) Cells ("Form and Function")
Lesson 20 of 20

Objective: SWBAT: 1) Understand that the main way solar energy is captured and stored on Earth is through the complex chemical process known as photosynthesis. 2) Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy. 3) Explain that the changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system.

Big Idea: Photosynthesis can be easily modeled and investigated through the use of spinach leaf disks, carbonated water, and light.

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Science, Photosynthesis, Investigations / Tools / Measurement, cells, form vs. function, cause and effect, Systems and System Models, Energy and Matter, structure and function
  55 minutes
leaf disk
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