Science 101: How does photosynthesis work?by: William Robertson, PhD.

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Energy transformations are an important part of the functioning of ecosystems, and a key part of those energy transformations is photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, bacteria, and other organisms use the energy of sunlight to manufacture food in the form of sugar. If it weren’t for photosynthesis, the energy source (sunlight) for all ecosystems would be useless. In other words, we’d all die, even though we might have really nice tans.

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Reviews (5)
  • on Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:36 AM

Photosynthesis is not just a simple process in which a plant takes in the sun’s energy and converts it to usable sugar. At least that is what elementary students are taught. This article is a biochemical approach to the process and this would be a good reference for a teacher at every grade level. Perhaps this article might be a little too deep for elementary teachers who lack a science background but it bears reading about to elevate ones knowledge level.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:03 PM

This article describes photosynthesis in an easy to understand and logical explanation of the process. Using cartoon-like illustrations the author throughly describes the process, identifies the parts of the plant that contribute to photosynthesis and defines all key terms. This is an excellent introduction to the process of photosynthesis.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:08 PM

This article breaks down the the process of photosynthesis into easily understandable terms. The author concentrates on describing the flow of energy through the process and provides graphical analogies to help explain major points. This resource gives explanations without the verbose vocabulary of most textbooks and web resources, while explaining the process very in depth.

Angelika Fairweather  (Bradenton, FL)
Angelika Fairweather (Bradenton, FL)

  • on Sat May 14, 2011 6:33 PM

Although the author attempts to explain the process of photosynthesis for an audience with limited experience with chemistry, he does not seem to be able to avoid using complicated terminology. However, if you DO wade through the terms, there really is an explanation that adults can get the gist of as well as biology students. There is little here that an elementary teacher can build on for their students, however, except to tell them that it works and they will find out why when they are older. Secondary teachers should find this article of more use for them to develop explanations for THEIR students.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

  • on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:05 PM

There are a couple of really nice visuals demonstrating transfer of energy that helped my understanding, but the text was a bit difficult to follow, although that may have been because of my lack of prior knowledge.

Cally C  (Pocatello, ID)
Cally C (Pocatello, ID)

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