Do Plants Eat?

Through a teacher-led discussion, students realize that the food energy plants obtain comes from sunlight via the plant process of photosynthesis. They learn what photosynthesis is, at an age-appropriate level of detail and vocabulary, and then begin to question how we know that photosynthesis occurs, if we cannot see it happening. This prepares students for the associated activity using Elodea, a common water plant suitable to directly observe evidence of photosynthesis. When Elodea is placed in a glass beaker near a good light source, bubbles of oxygen release as products of photosynthesis. By counting the number of bubbles that rise to the surface in a five-minute period, students can compare the photosynthetic activity of Elodea in the presence of high and low light levels.