science education resource

For K-12 Students • Educators • Homeschool Families • Naturalists

What Plants Need for Photosynthesis - Investigation (6-8 Grade NGSS)

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In the experiment, students will observe what plants need to complete photosynthesis to  create fuel.

•  three empty, peeled 2-liter bottles  • scissor • pitcher with water
• box in which the planter can fit (and a closet or dark cabinet in which to put bottle # 3
• enough pebbles and potting soil to fill containers half way up. • 3 bean seeds

1. Cut the tops off the plastic bottles.
2. Add pebbles on the bottom for drainage. Then add soil to it fill them half way.
3. Plant one seed in the center of each.
4. Place two of the planters in the sunlight and one under a box in a closet, (so that it gets no sunlight).
5. One of the planters in the light will be:
Bottle #1 The control bottle will receive water and sunlight (only enough water to dampen soil - not soak!).
Bottle #2 (in the sunlight) The bottle will receive no water - just sunlight.
Bottle #3 (in the dark) The bottle will receive water when dry, but no sunlight.
6. Use the data collection sheet with your students to show them how to record how the three plants are doing. Check them daily or every 2-3 days. Record changes in plant size, color and general health. Then explain how they can observe the results and what they mean.

Can they see any differences between the plants?
What do these differences tell you about a plant’s need for water and light to perform photosynthesis?

Performance Expectations - Students who demonstrate understanding can:
MS-LS1-6. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.

Disciplinary Core Ideas
LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
• Plants, algae (including phytoplankton), and many microorganisms use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water through the process of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen. These sugars can be used immediately or stored for growth or later use. (MS-LS1-6)

What Plants Need for Photosynthesis - Investigation (6-8 Grade NGSS)
What Plants Need for Photosynthesis - Investigation (6-8 Grade NGSS)

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