Brilliant Outdoor's Education Center Photosynthesis for Kids
Think about what happens when you are hungry. You might grab a sandwich, or perhaps a cookie to eat. Our bodies convert food into energy so that we can keep going. In the same way, plants also need sources of food to survive. Plants certainly can’t eat cookies and they don’t have teeth, but they do get nutrition in other ways. Apart from water and nutrients in the soil, sunlight is another important factor for plants. But how do plants use sunlight? It certainly isn’t something that can be eaten or drank. Plants have a very special process called photosynthesis to help them convert sunlight into a usable form of energy. Photosynthesis can be broken down into two Greek words: photo, meaning light, and synthesis, which means combining things together. Photosynthesis combines sunlight along with water, chlorophyll, and carbon dioxide to create food for plants. This food is a type of simple sugar that is called glucose. Keep in mind that this sugar is not like the white sugar crystals that we have in our kitchens. It is a liquid solution that is very easy for the plant to use and digest. Plants use glucose to create other substances like starch or protein. An easy way to see how it works is to sprout beans in two separate containers, under the same conditions. Next, keep one container in a sunny area and the other in a dark spot. Even after watering both of them regularly, the plant in the dark area will start wilting and dying. This is because the lack of sunlight prevents it from starting the process of photosynthesis.
Looking at a plant’s leaves is a great way to tell whether it is receiving enough sunlight. Healthy leaves are usually firm and very green. Plants that don’t have enough sunlight have leaves that are soft and wilted, and usually yellow or brown. The difference in color is caused by the absence of a substance called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps to trap sunlight for the plant. It is a green-colored substance, so when a plant is healthy and produces a lot of chlorophyll, it has very green leaves. Chlorophyll exists in microscopic cells that make up the plant’s leaves. Photosynthesis is not only important for plants, but also for humans, animals, and our whole planet! During the process, plants take in carbon dioxide and then give out molecules of oxygen. In other words, plants act as a natural form of air filter. They clean the air for us.
This is a major reason why many people today are realizing that it is bad to cut down forests and remove plants. Instead of harming the planet in this way, we can all help by planting a few trees or cultivating a garden. By allowing plants to live and continue their process of photosynthesis, we can also create a cleaner air quality. Plants are very special because instead of creating bad waste products like humans, they are self-sufficient and emit good products after consuming their food. It is important for all of us to know about the importance of photosynthesis so that we can all work to reduce the destruction of plants. Want to get started? Browse through the interactive resources below to learn all about photosynthesis as well as general information on plant parts, life cycles, processes, and plenty more.
- Photosynthesis on Land and in Water
- What Do Plants Do With Sunlight?
- An Interactive Look at Photosynthesis
- The Meaning of Photosynthesis
- An Online Interactive Photosynthesis Unit
- A Guide to Photosynthesis
- A Presentation on Photosynthesis
- Photosynthesis with the Magic School Bus
- An Explanation of Photosynthesis
- Learn the Photosynthesis Song
- Photosynthesis Helps in the Kitchen!
- Take the Photosynthesis Challenge
- Kids Explain What Photosynthesis Is
- Explore Photosynthesis Online
- Play the Photosynthesis Input/Output Game
- Watch a Presentation on Photosynthesis
- Label the Photosynthesis Process
- Try a Photosynthesis Quiz
- Photosynthesis Word Jumble
- An Illustrated Guide to Photosynthesis
- Answers to Photosynthesis Questions
- The Basic Elements of Photosynthesis
- An Animated Lesson on Photosynthesis
- Try a Photosynthesis Experiment
- How Does Photosynthesis Affect Leaf Color?
More Information on Plants
- Label the Different Flower Parts
- How Do Plants Spread Their Seeds?
- A Presentation on Pollination
- All About How Plants Grow
- An Interactive Look at Plant Life Cycles
- How Seeds Turn Into Plants
- How Does Pollination Work?
- The Importance of Seeds
- Explore Plants with Zip the Bee
- Practice Taking Care of a Plant
- What Do Botanists Do?
- How Flowers Help Plants
- A Quiz on Plant Processes
- Plant Nutrition and Growth
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