Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Photosynthesis: Photosynthesis Races


Originally posted on February 24, 2010

Teams of students (or individuals) race against each other to assemble the equation for photosynthesis. As students master the equation, they move from words to chemical symbols.


Carbon dioxide + Water + Light--> Oxygen + Sugar
6 CO2 + 6H2O + Light --> 6O2 + C6H12O6



Use index cards to create the equation components. You will need a set for each team you plan to have compete at one time.

Set one:
Carbon dioxide
Water
Light (Sun)
Oxygen
Sugar
-->
+ (x3)

Set two:
CO2
H2O
Light (Sun)
O2
C6H12O6
-->
+ (x3)

Depending upon the level of your students or how much of a challenge you wish to present, you can also provide the coefficients for students to put in the correct places.

I like to have each team begin with the words. The teams each work together to properly assemble their equation (remember, it doesn’t matter which order the reactants and products are in, just that they are on the proper side of the arrow).

As soon as a team claims to have completed the equation, I check it for accuracy. While I am checking, the other team can continue to assemble their equation in case the first team is incorrect. If they are incorrect, both teams continue to assemble the equation.


Once a team has correctly assembled the equation, the winning team moves on to chemical equations while the losing team continues to use the words.

This game can be played very quickly and is a good way for student to learn the equation for photosynthesis. By providing one additional card – ATP – and removing one card – Light – you can have students create the equation for cellular respiration. You could set up a whole tournament for your class to crown a photosynthesis champion!

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