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Wetland Curriculum Resource
Unit 3. Ecology - Activities

1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 7 : 10 acad : 10 appl :: Photosynthesis)

Purpose: To understand the significance of plants in giving us life, food, and clean air.

What You Need: large sheet of lined paper (or blackboard) :: marker

What You Do:

  1. Ask students to list the needs of humans. Write this list on the paper or blackboard in the left column. Try to include these basic needs: air, water, food, shelter, and clothing.
  2. Ask students to list the needs of animals. Write this list beside the human needs list, trying to place common needs beside each other. Be sure to include air, water, food, and shelter. What are the similar needs of both humans and animals? What are the differences?
  3. Repeat the above for plants in the third column. Include air, water, and food. Compare the needs of humans, animals, and plants.
  4. Discuss the common need for food. Humans and animals eat meat or vegetables for food. What do plants eat? They get their energy from the sun. Then humans and animals eat plants for energy!
  5. Discuss the common need for air. Although humans and animals both need air, explain that plants cannot use the air that humans and animals use. Instead, they use "plant air" (carbon dioxide). Simply explain that air is a mixture of gases, two of which are oxygen (that we breathe), and carbon dioxide (that plants breathe).
  6. On the board, write out the basic photosynthetic equation. (Any one can be used, depending on the comprehension of the students).

    water + plant air + sun = food + air
    water + carbon dioxide + light energy = food + oxygen
    H2O + C02 + light energy = C6H1206 (glucose) + 02

    Review the equation several times, repeating the statement: plants need water, plant air, and sun to make food and air. Remind the students that plants use a component of air which is different from the component of air that humans and animals use.

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


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