Photosynthesis: Assessment

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Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of photosynthesis

Big Idea

Show what you know!

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Purpose of Lesson:

The purpose of this lesson is to assess student learning of photosynthesis.  This is also the final shot at making connections within the unit.


Major Strategies to Watch for:

Wrap -up- At the end of units I use an animated, interactive power point to review the content and make deeper connections with kids.

Concept map -  I use a shared concept map to make connections with the unit and with previous and future student learnings.  


3 minutes

Learning Goal: Prove what you have learned about photosynthesis.

Opening Question:  Fill in the blanks of these sentences using your word glossaries.

Photosynthesis creates __________ for plants.  This food is _____________.  The __________________ of photosynthesis are carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight.  The ____________________ of photosynthesis are sugar and oxygen.  

Students record their opening question on their learning goal sheet and are ready to start class 3 min after the bell has rung.  I reward students who get started early with ROCK STAR SCIENTIST tickets.  

Follow the links to learn more about the beginning of class strategies and ROCK STAR scientist tickets.   


5 minutes

This video of photosynthesis, from the point of view of the seed, is a funny way to end this unit.  I ask kids to listen for specific things like ATP, mitochondria, chloroplasts, molecules

I stop the video at certain points to emphasize the most important learning that we've done this unit and to give kids a chance to share their thinking with their partner.


10 minutes

On the day of any summative assessment, I like to take the time to wrap-up my instruction by using an animated interactive power point review.  The purpose of the review is to give the students one more look at the content this time at a global perspective so that students can make connections and solidify their understanding.  

In this review I want to focus students on some of the main ideas.

1) Photosynthesis produces food for plants.

2) This food is sugar.

3)Understanding the reactants and products of this process.

For me, there are two important instructional aspects of the power point.  First, I set it up to be interactive with several processing slides within the presentation so that students can hear thoughts from their peers as well as me.

Second, I use animation techniques in the powerpoint to capture student attention, include non-verbal visual cues, and allow for storytelling.  Making animated powerpoints can be time consuming and tricky, but I love it and find it well worth the time.  

Below are several screenshots of how to do different animations.  Once you have the skills, the rest is up to your imagination!

Making basic entrance and exit animations

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Using animations to tell a story

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Adding in movement lines

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Concept Map

15 minutes

The purpose of this section is to reexamine the shared concept map we made at the beginning of the unit and to add connections and thinking. 

To do this I pull students to the back of my room by one of my unused white boards.  We have three norms at the board.

-Everyone sits on the floor.

-Everyone brings their map paper and a pencil.

-Everyone raises their hand to talk. 

Each unit, I print out the Essential Learnings on tag board for the students.  This also includes the success criteria for each standard and a tracking device.  I give students a plastic cover to keep them in.  This simple structure increases their worth to kids, showing them daily how important the student trackers are.  Because this shows the tracking of learning it makes a very logical place to put the picture or concept map of learning on the back.

With students, I sketch out the unit on the board and fill in some details.  Students have the freedom to add more details to their maps.  With each mini- unit, the maps grow in detail and connections.  This is a picture of what one students' map looked like.  In later units, I want to bring kids up to do the thinking on the concept maps.  Below I loaded a video of a student walking us through the map.



20 minutes

The purpose of this section is to assess the students. This test assesses the essential learnings of the unit and also looks at whether students are being able to count atoms in a chemical formula. This information is actually a pre-assessment for some conservation of mass learning we will be doing later in the year. When students are done with their tests, they can read or finish their Animotos.


3 minutes

Closing Statement: "This week we have been studying photosynthesis and looking at how plants make food.  Next unit will be all about how plants and animals use that food to make energy."  

Closing Question:  "Now that we know where the plants get food, what do you think they DO with the food?"

Closure depends greatly on timing and is not as easy to plan in advance as opening.  You can find more information about how I manage closure here.