The Simple Story of Photosynthesis and Food

Contributor
Amanda Ooten & Glenn Steinmacher
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Animation/Movie
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

Animation that teaches how plant-based foods get their starch and how humans use the starches to make energy. Site also has limited follow up questions and other information on the vocabulary used. This is a great resource for showing the dynamics of photosynthesis and leads to cellular respiration at a middle-level appropriate level. This is not a complete NGSS lesson but could be used as part of a larger series of activities that addresses PE MS-LS1-7.

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 6
  • Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

MS-LS1-7 Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on describing that molecules are broken apart and put back together and that in this process, energy is released.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include details of the chemical reactions for photosynthesis or respiration.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
In order to meet the full performance expectation, students need to be given an opportunity to develop a model of the chemical reaction as photosynthesis occurs. This model could be in a hands-on model made of gumdrops and toothpicks, allowing the disassembly and reassembly of the various atoms or the model could be a drawing that would be frames of a comic strip showing the steps as photosynthesis makes sugar and, subsequently, cellular respiration breaks the sugar down.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students need to be given an opportunity to develop a model of the chemical reaction as photosynthesis and cellular respiration occur. This model could be in a hands-on model made of gumdrops and toothpicks, allowing the disassembly and reassembly of the various atoms or the model could be a drawing that would be frames of a comic strip showing the steps as cellular respiration makes energy. Additionally, students could be asked to draw a model of how photosynthesis occurs prior to watching the animation and then the teacher can ask them to edit and revise their model after watching the video, although the teacher should stop the video after each section so that students have time to revise each section before moving on to the next. The video is quick.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The video is very quick and may need to be viewed a couple of times. Teacher should facilitate their understanding by using discussion techniques like think-pair-share to have students review the information and synthesize what the narrator explained. It might also be good to have students create a flow chart showing the steps that the narrator illustrates. This flow chart could be completed in small groups so each student can help to recall the ideas and clarify it with peers.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
By using physical models of photosynthesis and cellular respiration, teachers should check for student engagement and make sure that all of the 'atoms' in their models are being used for the 'before' and 'after' so that they and consistent with the conservation of matter. By considering the atoms that are linked before and the atoms that are linked afterward, the teacher should make sure the students understand that none have been created or destroyed. The teacher should also link this lesson to one on chemical energy and address the idea that energy is stored in the bonds of the molecules and how the energy can be used or 'banked' when molecules form.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This video illustrates great visuals of how the molecules of starch form in a plant and are used by humans to give us energy. Many biological terms are introduced and explained in a simple manner. This could be used in conjunction with other hands on activities to support the student's understanding of photosynthesis and respiration.

  • Instructional Supports: There are a few questions that are provided by ted-ed but for the most part, they are just fact-checking questions and do not assess students' understanding of the DCI or provide the student an opportunity to engage in any NGSS practices.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: A few questions are included with the resource. The teacher can use them as formative assessment in order to check for understanding within a lesson progressions. The one discussion question that is provided (Knowing what you know about photosynthesis, explain how the process may help reduce global warming.) does require the student to think beyond the story in the animation.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: Ted resources can be customized by teachers to be used in a blended class or in conjunction with other resources. This resource will be a great addition to many learning progressions.