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Wetland Curriculum Resource
Unit 3. Ecology - Activities

1 : 3 : 4 : 7 : 10 acad : 10 appl :: Photosynthesis)

Purpose: To simulate the combining of the necessary components of photosynthesis in a physical activity.

Level: junior, intermediate

What You Need: large open area :: whistle :: a class set of coloured ribbons (four different colours)

What You Do:

  1. Divide the class into 4 equal groups and distribute the coloured ribbons (eg., 7 red, 7 blue, 7 green, and 7 yellow).
  2. The red group will be the "sun group", the blue group will be the "water group", the green group will be the "plant group", and the yellow group will be the "carbon dioxide group" (or "plant air group").
  3. The object of the game is for each member of the plant group to catch a member of the yellow, red, and blue groups who try to avoid them by running away. Once caught, the two or three will link arms and continue to try to tag the other required colour(s).
  4. The first plant to obtain sun, water, and carbon dioxide successfully photosynthesizes and survives. Those plants not successful in photosynthesizing do not survive. Discuss the result with the students. Was every plant successful? Why or why not?
  5. Remove some students from the water group and add them to the plant group. Allow the game to begin again. Some plants will be able to obtain all their needed elements except water, and will not survive because of the shortage of water. Wise plants will try to tag a water person first, in order to increase their chances of survival. Discuss the results of the water shortage. Were there more or less successful plants during the water shortage? Why or why not?
  6. Change ratios again between groups. Discuss end results.


  1. Discuss with students what would happen if there were suddenly less plants on the earth. Also consider what would happen to plants, animals, and humans if there was suddenly less carbon dioxide, water, or sun.

Click here to see the list of activities for this unit.


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