We have been learning all about the process of photosynthesis using Alison’s Montessori new puzzle, The Process of Photosynthesis. We were excited to see that chemistry had been incorporated in the process (Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, and Hydrogen molecules). The puzzle is beautifully designed with vivid contrasting colors, which make each part of the process very distinctive. So why learn about photosynthesis and how important is it for other living organisms?
Sunlight energy is a vital source of energy for most living things on Earth. Plants have the ability to channel light energy into chemical energy to build living tissues. Only a few organisms on Earth have this ability such as plants, algae, and a few bacteria. The process by which plants create chemical compounds to build living tissues is photosynthesis. This topic is ephemerally presented to elementary learners, which miss to permanently establish the interconnectivity of the main parts of a plant: roots, stems, leaves.
Plants depend on their environment (water, minerals, sunlight), and in return, they provide benefits for the Earth’s atmospheric composition (oxygen), and to other living things. Photosynthesis is made possible through a combination of raw materials: water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight energy, which are absorbed through the soil and the atmosphere. In order to optimize their capacity to produce chemical compounds, plants use different adaptive strategies. The flat shape of leaves enables the plant to absorb a maximum of sunlight. The arrangements of leaves on a plant also favorize sunlight absorption. Plants also develop root systems adapted for their needs. Some specialized roots can reach deep in the soil (storage roots), or above the soil (aerial roots).
The Process of Photosynthesis Puzzle with Nomenclature Cards (6-9) set describes the process used by plants to make and store food. Some cellular structures are represented in a simple manner that children 6-9 can process. The cards describe photosynthesis, sunlight energy, carbon dioxide, plant cell, chloroplasts, water molecule, oxygen, hydrogen, carbohydrates, leaves, and roots. In addition, children will enjoy learning about chloroplasts, the small pigmented structures inside plant cells that perform photosynthesis.
How to Use the Materials
Prior to introducing the materials, you may want to review the parts of a plant. Prepare some literature on the topic of plants to read together with the children as you observe a real specimen of a potted plant. If the weather permits, take children outside to feel the sunlight. Ask children eliciting questions to assess their knowledge, and activate their interest. Ask children where they get their energy from (humans are heterotrophs who don’t make their own food unlike plants). Let children know that we call plants autotrophs (Greek – auto = self, troph = feeding) because plants are able to produce their own food out of inorganic materials.
You can begin to invite children to take a look at the puzzle and the control chart. As you introduce each part, use this opportunity to remind children how to work with the nomenclature cards. Invite children to take turns placing the wooden labels on the puzzle as you read about each part. The nomenclature cards are comprised of 6 different components to facilitate multilevel learning. To encourage children to integrate the knowledge, make several copies of the Control Booklet and the Blackline Master to leave at the children’s disposal.
If possible, you can prepare two identical plants for experiments. Have children place a plant where it can receive the proper amount of sunlight. Have children place the second plant in a shady place. Take care of the plants the same way, and make observations between the plant that received the proper amount of sunlight vs. the plant that was in the shade. Use the scientific method to make predictions.
I hope you enjoyed this post and find the materials inspirational. Alison’s Montessori provided me with the materials at no cost. I write unbiased honest review to highlight educational materials that have been effective for us. Alison’s Montessori materials are based on the Montessori curriculum for elementary learners which informs our practice. They are suitable for anyone seeking hands-on engaging materials with lasting effects on learning.
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