Photosynthesis: Movie!

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Students will be able to use what they have learned about photosynthesis to make their own movie.

Big Idea


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Purpose of Lesson:

The purpose of this lesson is to help students either relearn the information or extend their information through creating a technology project.

Major Strategies to Watch for:

1) Differentiated prompts for students at different levels of learning. 


3 minutes

Learning Goal: Create a product using your photosynthesis learning.

Opening Question:  What is the most important thing about photosynthesis to put in your project?

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

The purpose of this section is to engage the students in the technology activity we are doing today.  

I start by explaining to the kids that we will be making Animotos...which is an online video production app.  It will make 30 second videos with music and effects very easily.  I show them this video that I made about food chains to get them excited about the project.  There is also a method of setting up an Educator account and getting 50 free Animoto Plus accounts.  It is a little tricky and time consuming but I've attached the instructions to this section.


10 minutes

Today the students will be doing a type of digital writing using the Animoto platform.  There purpose is to produce a type of "readable writing" that will explain the process of photosynthesis to others.  It is probably a good idea to go back to the concept of "readable writing" to make sure that students view this as a writing project instead of just a tech project.  I use this anchor chart to help build the foundation of "Readable Writing" in class.

 Since kids are doing two different assignments, I hand these out first and let them read the assignment and plan for a few minutes.  What they really need to know before they get on the computer is what types of pictures they will need.  For example, students will probably need pictures of the sun.

Once they have a plan, we go on the computers and find the pictures.  I take them to the animoto website and help them set up their animoto accounts.  Then I show them how to add their pictures and fiddle with the captions and effects.  Below is a screencast explaining some of the tricks to animoto.


30 minutes

For some students, this activity is a chance to relearn material they have not yet shown proficiency on through the formative assessments, quizzes, and discussions.  These students will be making an animoto that simply shows the process of photosynthesis.  

The checklist for this assignment is:

_____ I have a slide for each step.

_____ My slides have captions.

_____ The pictures match the words on the slides.

_____ I show the reactants and the products.

_____ My slides have no misunderstandings.


Here are some examples of student work!

Student 1

Student 2


30 minutes

For some students, this activity is a chance to make connections with the learning from food chains and food webs.  They will be using the equation AND a food chain to explain how matter and energy flows through the system.

The checklist for this assignment is;

______ I have shown where energy begins in the food chain

______ I have describe how matter is produced.

.______ I have shown the reactants and products of photosynthesis.

______The pictures match the words on the slides.

______ My slides have no misunderstandings.


3 minutes

Closing Statement:  "Today we made products using our knowledge of photosynthesis. Tomorrow we will be making a concept map and taking a test."

Closing Question:  "How did making a product help you learn the content better?"

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.