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Hands-On Biology Activities

Photosynthesis, Cellular Respiration and Plant Growth

This minds-on, hands-on activity begins with the driving question of how a tiny seed grows into a giant sequoia tree.

To address this question, students first consider what types of molecules and atoms are in plants. Next, they analyze data from an experiment on changes in plant biomass in the light vs. dark. Then, they conduct an experiment to evaluate changes in CO2 concentration in the air around plants in the light vs. dark.

Students interpret these data to develop an increasingly accurate and evidence-based model of the contributions of photosynthesis and cellular respiration to changes in plant biomass.

This activity counteracts several common misconceptions about plant growth, photosynthesis, and cellular respiration. (NGSS)

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