Monday, March 7, 2011

Do Plants Need the Sun? Photosynthesis

Here are a couple of activities to do with the kids to observe the effect of light on green plants.

Do plants need the sun?

Experiment 1

  • Chose a plant that has healthy leaves.
  • Have children observe the plant. Discuss the color of the leaves.
  • Have the children make a prediction of what will happen to the plant if the plant does not get sun.
  • Cover one leaf  (front and back) completely with aluminum foil or black construction paper.
  • Put the plant in a sunny spot.
  • In a week or two, remove the aluminum foil or black construction paper and observe the leaf.
  • Compare that leaf to the other leaves.
  • Discuss the reasons for the difference in the covered leaf compared to the other leaves.
  • Introduce the term producer. (Plants are organisms that produce their own food thus they are producers).
  • Introduce the term photosynthesis. The process whereby plants use sunlight to make their own food.

The leaf will probably be wilted, yellow, and dying. The aluminum foil prevented the sunlight from getting to the leaf. Without sunlight plants cannot make their own food.

Experiment 2

  • Plant a few seeds in 2 different containers.
  • Have students sketch pictures of both containers.
  • Place one container in a dark area and place the other container in a sunny area.
  • Have students predict what they think will happen to the two containers over the next week or two.
  • Water the plants in both containers when the soil gets dry.
  • After the week or two is over place both containers together side by side.
  • Have the students observe both containers and compare and contrast the plants. Do they look the same? Do they look different? Why?
  • Have the students sketch pictures of both plants.
  • Was their prediction correct?
  • Introduce/review the terms producer and photosynthesis. (See above.)
Note: Animals are organisms that can not produce their own food, thus they are NOT producers. Animals are consumers



    1. I'd never thought to do this with a single leaf from a plant.

    2. Hi Ticia, I got that idea from Bill Nye the science guy! It's better to give up one leaf than a whole plant. (I love Bill Nye!) Thanks for stopping by.
      Marcia :)

    3. Great project. Thanks for sharing. I also love Bill Nye!

    4. Hi Shannon, Thanks for visiting. I sent you an email. Love your site by the way!

    5. This is a great idea, thanks for sharing.

    6. Stopping from the Kid Blogger Hop! What a great way to learn!



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