We are having a cold snap here in Virginia and I have to tell you I am ready for spring! Spring is one of my favorite seasons for many reasons. I love the rebirth of flowers that have been laying dormant throughout the winter. Trees come to life in a colorful rebirth. And of course the average temperature throughout the day gets warmer. With the onset of spring I know summer is not far away.

Springtime is the perfect time to help your budding scientists understand how plants make their own food through the process of photosynthesis. In this free lesson, your students will observe the process of photosynthesis and then use what they have learned to design their own experiment.

Here is what you need:

  • elodea plant for each group
  • small container to put plant in

What your students will do:

Post the following question: “What happens when an Elodea plant is placed in a test tube and put in the sunlight?” This is descriptive research instead of experimental because students are just observing what happens. They will learn from this research that the plant will produce oxygen as the plant sits in the sunlight. 

Have students work together to set up plant in the test tube.

Once done and the plants have been placed in a sunny spot, have the students make observations at the same time during the next few days.  Remind them to be careful observers!

Once students have seen the bubbles and the test tube fill up with gas at the top (water will be pushed out at the bottom of test tube), time to have students learn about photosynthesis. Use the following discussion questions to start the conversation: •What did you observe happening on the surface of the plant? •What do you think are those bubbles? •What else did you observe?

Hope you enjoy this free lesson!

Published by Jenny Sue Flannagan