Photosynthesis is the energy process for terrestrial and aquatic plants that provide oxygen to the atmosphere, and it drives the carbon cycle. Photosynthesis can be studied using a traditional leaf assay, with investigations of elodea, or with green algae concentrated in sodium alginate beads. This guide breaks down the important information students need to know, provides links to products and free digital resources, and includes suggestions for hands-on labs that reinforce student learning. We’ve gathered a variety of products and resources to help you teach this concept. They include:
- Models and manipulatives to simplify teaching photosynthesis
- Photosynthesis activities, experiments, and kits
- Free resources for you and your students
The major areas covered in this topic
- Photosynthesis with Leaf Assays
- Photosynthesis with Elodea
- Photosynthesis with Algae Beads
- Thin Layer Chromatography with Plant Pigments
Photosynthesis with Leaf Disk Assay
Students investigate photosynthesis using a leaf disk assay. In the Guided Investigation, students measure the rate of photosynthesis by counting the number of leaf disks floating at each time. Leaf disks float as oxygen gas is produced during photosynthesis. Students test the effect of using solutions with and without a carbon source. In the Inquiry Investigation, students develop and follow an experimental plan to investigate the effect of a chosen variable on photosynthesis.
Photosynthesis with Elodea
Students carry out activities demonstrating the role of light, chlorophyll, carbon dioxide, and oxygen in photosynthesis. They test leaves of elodea, grown in light and in dark, for the presence of starch. They also collect oxygen produced by photosynthesis and demonstrate the depletion of carbon dioxide from water as photosynthesis occurs.
Photosynthesis with Algae Beads
Brighten your photosynthesis lessons with algae beads. Students can prepare algae beads, observe the products of photosynthesis, and get hands-on experience developing and testing a hypothesis using colored filters, algae beads, and a bicarbonate indicator solution. Algae beads allow for repeated testing over time and provide easy-to-obtain visual data.
Thin Layer Chromatography with Plant Pigments
Teach your students the fundamentals of thin layer chromatography with this classic experiment in separation science.
Kits That Cover the Topics Above
Carolina has a variety of high-quality models to fit your needs. Check out our selection of leaf, chloroplast, and plant cell models.
Additional Photosynthesis Products
Carolina has additional products to supplement your photosynthesis lessons.
Additional Photosynthesis Support
We have free resources to help you teach this concept, including:
Free Photosynthesis Resources
Use these free resources to supplement your instruction about photosynthesis.
Carolina Essentials and Labsheets
- Learn how to culture algae.
- Make algae beads.
- Teach photosynthesis using coleus plants.
- Observe plant cells.
- Try a 3-D lesson on photosynthesis.
Carolina Care Guides
Explore our complete care guides for detailed information about the organisms along with related resources and FAQs.
Looking for some support for your photosynthesis labs? These videos can help.
For More Guidance
These are our top picks. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, we’ll be happy to help you find the right activities and kits to simplify your planning and implementation. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.