Plants and Energy (Respiration and Photosynthesis)

Contributor
Sharon Schleigh Victor Sampson
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This is one of 30 lessons from the NSTA Press book Scientific Argumentation in Biology. The lesson engages students in an argumentation cycle in which they evaluate three alternative claims regarding whether and how plants use oxygen to obtain energy. The lesson engages students by discussing how animals use sugar to obtain energy and then opens the comparison between animals and plants. Students are guided to design and carry out an investigation that will allow them to collect evidence needed to construct an argument defending one of the three claims. As they construct this argument, students build and apply knowledge of photosynthesis, respiration, energy and matter transfers within ecosystems, and interactions among organisms and their environments. This lesson is intended for middle or high school students. Teachers are encouraged to refer to the preface, introduction, student assessment samples, and appendix provided in the full book for important background on the practice of argumentation and resources for classroom implementation.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Middle School
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Available for purchase - The right to view, keep, and/or download material upon payment of a one-time fee.

Performance Expectations

HS-LS2-3 Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for the cycling of matter and flow of energy in aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on conceptual understanding of the role of aerobic and anaerobic respiration in different environments.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the specific chemical processes of either aerobic or anaerobic respiration.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This collection of lessons was published before the final release of the Next Generation Science Standards. However, the lessons are explicitly aligned to Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science and Engineering Practices from the Framework for K-12 Science Education. In science and in the classroom, the practice of engaging in argument from evidence will often precede the development of a generally accepted explanation for a phenomenon. Throughout this lesson, students will develop and revise oral and written explanations that detail the transfer of matter and energy during the processes of photosynthesis and respiration under aerobic conditions. Student will draw on evidence collected during their guided investigations, but teachers may also present additional learning experiences prior to or within this lesson. The lesson does not address anaerobic conditions. Teachers will need to plan for an extension of this lesson or for an additional lesson to address that concept. The teacher notes provide some guidance on how this lesson can fit into various parts of a typical biology course. The preface, introduction, student assessment samples, and appendix of the full book provide the teacher with background on how to support students in their small group work and facilitate class discussions as they progress through the argumentation cycle.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
While this lesson focuses on the practice of Engaging in Argument from Evidence, the lesson does include a guided student investigation in which students collect evidence to support their arguments. Students are provided with a specific set of materials to use during the investigation. Teachers may wish to modify the investigation based on availability of materials or to provide more latitude to students in designing their experiment.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This lesson is centered on the practice of Engaging in Argument from Evidence and will engage students in many of the elements of that practice. In particular, this lesson calls on students to evaluate three alternative arguments and to specifically refute one of those in their oral and written argument. Developing a counter argument to refute a claim is a more advanced skill than simply supporting a claim. Therefore, the teacher will need to be prepared to support students in that phase of the lesson. The final goal of the lesson is for students to produce a written argument that includes an explanation of the relevant concepts of energy and matter transfers during photosynthesis and respiration. The authors also suggest that the lesson addresses the practice of Developing and Using Models. While this practice is not addressed explicitly within the lesson, the lesson framework would certainly accommodate the development and revision of student models as the basis for their arguments and explanations. Students may, on their own, incorporate simple models (e.g., conceptual models of energy and matter transfers or the overall chemical equations for photosynthesis and respiration) into their arguments. However, teachers who wish to focus on modeling within this lesson will likely wish to make this connection more explicit as they facilitate the lesson with their students. The lesson includes a guided student investigation in which students are provided with a specific set of materials. Teachers may wish to modify the investigation based on availability of materials or to provide more latitude to students in designing their experiment.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The first page of the student handout contains multiple instances of a potentially misleading phrase, and the teacher will need to address this by modifying the teaching materials or highlighting the correct meaning of the phrase. The authors state multiple times that organisms “convert sugar into energy.” The authors may have felt that this simplification improved the flow of the opening discussion, but the phrase could have the effect of reinforcing student misconceptions regarding the conservation of energy and matter during chemical reactions. The teacher notes provide a more accurate discussion of the concepts involved. Outside of the teacher notes, the lesson does not include direct instruction on the concepts of the Disciplinary Core Idea. Rather, the argumentation cycle provides a context in which students can apply their understanding of these concepts. Students may gain these understandings through prior instruction, instruction embedded within the argumentation cycle, or self-directed research within the argumentation cycle. The teacher notes describe the alignment between the lesson and the Disciplinary Core Ideas. The scenario provides an engaging context to which students can connect their learning about the more complex interrelationships and energy transfers that occur in ecosystems.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Although the lesson does not include direct instruction on the core ideas, the argumentation cycle does provide a context in which students can develop and apply their understanding of the chemical and energy transformations that occur during photosynthesis. Students may develop their understanding through prior instruction, instruction embedded within the argumentation cycle, or self-directed research within the argumentation cycle. The teacher notes describe the alignment between the lesson and the core ideas.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The authors cite five different crosscutting concepts in the teacher notes, but Energy and Matter and Cause and Effect are seemingly of most importance. The teacher will need to guide students to focus on energy and matter throughout their discussions and writing. It is this connection that will maximize student learning in relation to the targeted Disciplinary Core Idea and Performance Expectation.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The authors cite five different crosscutting concepts in the teacher notes, but Energy and Matter and Cause and Effect are seemingly of most importance. Teachers should consistently challenge students to use concepts of cause and effect as the students make claims based on their experimental data. Teachers should regularly ask students questions like “How do you know that?” and “Why did that happen?”

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This and the other lessons in this book were designed explicitly to address the three dimensions of the Framework for K-12 Science Education. The lesson engages students in using science and engineering practices crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas to develop an explanation to answer the following guiding question: Do plants use O2 to convert the sugar (which they produce using photosynthesis) into energy and release CO2 as a waste product as animals do? Teachers may want to present an observable phenomenon to accompany the lesson introduction and guiding question. For example, observing yeast in 10% sucrose solution added to a phenol red solution can indicate that organisms undergo cellular respiration. Teachers are also advised to familiarize themselves with Sampson and Schleigh's argumentation framework, suggested teacher behaviors, and assessment approaches before implementing this lesson in the classroom. The lesson resources do not include instructional materials that directly present the core concepts targeted by the lesson. Rather, the teacher will need to provide such instruction prior to or embedded within the argumentation cycle.

  • Instructional Supports: The lesson begins with a discussion of cellular respiration in animals. This should have the effect of drawing on students’ familiarity with animals and their prior knowledge. The teacher might wish to enhance the lesson opening by incorporating a discrepant event demonstration, such as having a student exhale into a pH indicator solution or adding yeast in a 10% sucrose solution with a pH indicator. Alternatively, teachers might use a short formative assessment prompt (e.g., the Light and Dark from Uncovering Student Ideas in Life Science, Volume 1 or Respiration from Uncovering Student Ideas in Science, Volume 3) to activate students’ prior knowledge of photosynthesis and respiration. The preface, introduction, assessment chapter, and appendix of the full book provide critical instructional support information for teachers who wish to implement this lesson. Successful implementation requires skillful facilitation by the teacher throughout the argumentation cycle. Students and teachers will develop the needed skills over time and with the implementation of multiple argumentation cycles.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Constant monitoring and feedback are built in to the Sampson and Schleigh's argumentation framework, but they rely on skillful teacher interactions with students. Supportive questioning is critical to student success in this and similar lessons. Teachers should monitor and provide feedback to students as they construct initial arguments, present and critique arguments, and draft final written arguments. Teachers can also model and guide students in providing constructive peer feedback. Teachers should also consider allowing students to revise and improve final written arguments based on teacher and peer feedback.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This is not a technology-based lesson. Technology may be incorporated in supporting instruction.