Did you know that trees and other plants need to eat the same way you do? However, unlike you, when a plant needs to eat it can't simply go into the pantry and grab a quick snack. Plants produce their own food by undergoing a process called photosynthesis. And while it may seem like a complicated word, by breaking it down into pieces, photosynthesis becomes a lot easier to understand. The prefix of the word “photo” means “light.” And the second part of the word, “synthesis”, means “put together.” When we look at it like that, photosynthesis goes from a big scary word to simply mean that plants take light and put it together with other ingredients in order to make their food. Aside from making food for plants, photosynthesis helps other living things as well, including human beings.
Just like making your favorite dinner would first require you to get all the necessary ingredients, plants too must have certain ingredients before they can begin photosynthesis and make their food. The first ingredient needed is light enegry which comes from the sun. Next is water, which is absorbed from the ground by the plant's roots. Carbon dioxide taken out of the air is also a crucial ingredient in photosynthesis. Finally, photosynthesis could not occur without chlorophyll, which is found in the cells of plants and is responsible for giving plants their green color.
Once all the ingredients have been gathered, it's time to eat! During photosynthesis, the cells of plants take the absorbed light energy and uses it to split the molecules of the wather. The water is broken up into molecules of oxygen and hydrogen. Next, the hydrogen combines with the carbon dioxide, which was taken from the air, and the result of this is the creation of sugar, which is the plant uses as its food.
Now you may be asking, “Well what happens to the oxygen that gets made during photosynthesis?” Plants release that oxygen back into the air. That is how photosynthesis not only helps plants, but people and animals too! When people and animals breathe, they take in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. And as you now know, plants use that carbon dioxide in photosynthesis and when they “exhale” they put oxygen back into the air; and the cycle continues. Without photosynthesis, many living things would not be able to survive. In short, photosynthesis is a very important process.
For more information about photosynthesis, please visit:
- Answers to Common Photosynthesis Questions: Find a definition of photosynthesis and further explanation about how it works.
- A Look at Photosynthesis: Read an explanation about what is necessary for photosynthesis to occur.
- Photosynthesis Defined: An illustration accompanies a simple description of the process of photosynthesis.
- Learning about Photosynthesis with a Story: Learn the basics about photosynthesis with the help of a story.
- An Activity that Illustrates Photosynthesis: Discover a list of materials needed for an a project that helps kids to understand photosynthesis.
- Elements Necessary for Photosynthesis: Graphics and descriptions deliver a lesson on photosynthesis.
- Trees and Photosynthesis: Look at what is required for photosynthesis as well as its purpose.
- Explanation of How Plants Make Food: Find definitions of vocabulary words related to photosynthesis as well as a description.
- The Significance of Photosynthesis: Read about photosynthesis and how it affects life forms of all kinds.
- Definition of Photosynthesis: Look at a definition of photosynthesis and the elements involved in the process.
- Information on Photosynthesis: Study a diagram and definition of the process of photosynthesis.
- Details on Photosynthesis: Discover facts about photosynthesis and why leaves change color.
- Lesson on Photosynthesis: Learn about photosynthesis with this detailed explanation.
- Photosynthesis at Work: Checkout how photosynthesis is involved when leaves change color.
- Background on Photosynthesis: (PDF) Read some facts about how photosynthesis was discovered.
- An Activity on Plants and Photosynthesis: Answer questions about photosynthesis to learn more about the process.
- Plant Web Quest: Learn about photosynthesis in this web quest that illustrates how plants grow.
- Discover Photosynthesis: Look at a definition of photosynthesis along with some helpful illustrations of a leaf.
- Test Your Knowledge of Plants: An activity that allows students to be a "plant sleuth" as they learn more about plants and photosynthesis.