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Photosynthesis is one of the most important natural processes that occur. It is also
one of the hardest processes to understand. If you are not sure what exactly
photosynthesis is do not be alarmed. Many people have an idea of what it is though
they do not know what the process does specifically.

In its most simple definition photosynthesis is the chemical process which changes
chemicals and nutrients into food. This definition sums up the entire process nicely.
However, the actual reaction that occurs is much harder to explain.

Plants are not the only species that use photosynthesis. Algae and even various forms
of bacteria use the process to convert chemical energy into food as well. Any species
that uses photosynthesis to produce food is called a phototroph. The chemical energy
is most often produced by sunlight. This is why sunlight is important to the survival of
plant life.

Water is also necessary for photosynthesis to occur. You probably already know that
when you water a plant the water is absorbed through its roots. The water travels
through the roots up long tubes that lead from the roots to other parts of the plant.
These tubes are called xylem.

As animals breathe in oxygen they release carbon dioxide into the air. The plants take
in the carbon dioxide that has been exhaled. Essentially, they recycle the carbon
dioxide, using it for the process of photosynthesis. A plant has tiny openings called
stomata. Stomata are located in the leaves of the plant. Carbon dioxide is taken into
the plant through these openings.

Now that the plant has chemical energy from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide it only
needs one more thing for photosynthesis to occur. The plant already has chlorophyll
within its leaves. Chlorophyll is a green jelly like chemical that combines with all the
other essential ingredients for photosynthesis.

So, to review, for photosynthesis to occur a plant needs:

¾ Water
¾ Chemical Energy from Sunlight
¾ Chlorophyll
¾ Carbon Dioxide

Chlorophyll is responsible for combining all the essential elements of photosynthesis. It
also mixes in nutrients that are found in the soil. As everything combines photosynthesis
changes the mixture into stored food. Photosynthesis allows the plant to feed itself. The
stored food is also used when humans and other animals eat plants. The next time you
eat a vegetable you will know that the energy you receive by eating the plant was
produced by photosynthesis.

1 Copyright 2005 InstructorWeb

This is the oxygen we breathe. 2 Copyright 2005 InstructorWeb . The carbon dioxide molecules are released from the cell and into the air so plants can use them for photosynthesis. They are combined together in the mitochondria of the cell. 12 hydrogen atoms and 6 oxygen atoms) and 6 oxygen molecules (oxygen may be associated with one or more atom). carbon dioxide is released. of course. All of the food we eat is converted to glucose. Glucose is a common substance in nearly every form of life that produces energy. The equation for respiration is: You should notice that the right side and the left side of the equation for photosynthesis swapped places. Here is the common chemical equation that is associated with photosynthesis: The left side of the arrow shows us 6 molecules of carbon dioxide (one molecule of carbon dioxide contains 1 carbon atom and 2 oxygen atoms) plus 6 molecules of water (one molecule of water contains 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom) yields (this is what the arrow means – yields is the same as saying produces) glucose (one molecule for sugar contains 6 carbon atoms. The body uses the water if it is needed. new oxygen is produced. is released into the air since the plant no longer needs it. Plants recycle the oxygen through taking in carbon dioxide (which humans and other animals release when they exhale). Even when we eat meat we are still getting energy from photosynthesis. Sugar produces energy. and the process repeats over and over again. Glucose and oxygen are taken from food and the air. The equation for glucose (sugar) and oxygen is on the right side of the arrow. We would all die. Respiration occurs once an animal or human eats the food that contains glucose. Respiration occurs in the cells of humans and animals. Without photosynthesis we would not have oxygen in the air. Respiration The opposite reaction to photosynthesis is called respiration. As respiration occurs molecules of water and carbon dioxide are released. animals breathe it in. That is why it is so important to keep trees and other plant life around. Plants use glucose as the primary part of the food that is stored. The oxygen. The meat we eat often comes from animals that eat plants and the energy from their food is transferred to us through the meat. Once photosynthesis has occurred.N am e___ ___ __ ________ ___ ___ __ __ D ate_ ___ ___ ________ __ As photosynthesis occurs oxygen is released into the air.

without photosynthesis we would not be here. which is why it is so important to understand how it works. 3 Copyright 2005 InstructorWeb . There is a never ending cycle as carbon dioxide and oxygen are exchanged back and forth between plant life and animal life. Regardless. photosynthesis and respiration work together.N am e___ ___ __ ________ ___ ___ __ __ D ate_ ___ ___ ________ __ As you can see. It truly is one of the most important processes.

_______ chlorophyll F.N am e___ ___ __ ________ ___ ___ __ __ D ate_ ___ ___ ________ __ Photosynthesis Worksheet I. _______ Respiration B. Human D. The process that is the opposite of photosynthesis II. Cow C. Multiple Choice 1. _______ xylem D. Some Bacteria D. Plants B. Algae C. Moose B. Water D. Oxygen C. Photosynthesis occurs in ___________. What is not essential for photosynthesis to occur? A. A. Tree 4 Copyright 2005 InstructorWeb . A __________ is a phototroph. All of the Above 3. Tiny openings in leaves that absorb carbon dioxide 3. A green jelly-like substance used to convert the essential elements of photosynthesis into energy 2. Matching 1. A species that uses photosynthesis to make food 4. The process plants use to create stored food 6. Sunlight 2. A. Carbon Dioxide B. _______ Photosynthesis A. _______ phototroph E. Tubes in plants that transport water from the roots 5. _______ Stomata C.

Mitochondria D. Energy from Glucose/Stored Food C. A. Fill in the Blank & Short Answers 1. Both A & B D. Minerals D. Stem D. None of the Above 5. Roots C. Oxygen B. Leaves C. Glucose is another word for _____________. Without photosynthesis humans would not receive ________. Respiration occurs in the ___________ of an animal cell. Flower 7. Leaves B. Cell Wall 8. A. The xylem transports water from the ___________ to other parts of the plant. 2.N am e___ ___ __ ________ ___ ___ __ __ D ate_ ___ ___ ________ __ 4. Roots B. Respiration yields _________________ _________________ (2 words) and water molecules. Water C. Photosynthesis yields _________________ and oxygen molecules. A. Flower D. Cell Membrane C. 5 Copyright 2005 InstructorWeb . The stomata are located in the ___________. Sugar B. Stem 6. Vitamins III. A. A. Nucleus B.

What would happen if all the trees and other plants disappeared? Why do you think environmentalists are so concerned about protecting plant life? 6 Copyright 2005 InstructorWeb .N am e___ ___ __ ________ ___ ___ __ __ D ate_ ___ ___ ________ __ 3. 4. Explain why photosynthesis is important. Name two things that are essential to human and animal life that are a product of photosynthesis.

E 2. C 6. A 6. C 8. it should list that without plants there would be no oxygen and animal/human life would die as a result. Glucose 2. B 2. Answers may vary. B 4. 7 Copyright 2005 InstructorWeb . F 3. A Multiple Choice 1. A 7. This energy is converted to glucose. D 5. 4. Photosynthesis is important because it produces oxygen which animals and humans need to breathe and also stored energy which is transported to humans and animals through food. D 3. However. D 4. A Fill in the Blank & Short Answers 1.N am e___ ___ __ ________ ___ ___ __ __ D ate_ ___ ___ ________ __ Teacher’s Answer Key Matching 1. C 5. Carbon Dioxide 3.