Carbon Cycle Lab- Photosynthesis and Respiration

Rated 4.89 out of 5, based on 131 reviews
131 Ratings
Science Lessons That Rock
Grade Levels
9th - 11th
Formats Included
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5 pages
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Science Lessons That Rock

What educators are saying

My students were able to complete the lab with minimal questions and problems. Overall it was a success! Thank you.
This was a simple, to the point lab and students were able to see and easily understand what was going on.
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This is a fool-proof lab to demonstrate photosynthesis and respiration in aquatic plants. This lab works great when teaching about the carbon cycle as well. In this lab students will learn that plants only do photosynthesis in the light and in the dark cellular respiration occurs.

Materials needed (per group): 4 test tubes with lids or parafilm, water, bromothymol blue, straw, elodea or other aquatic plant, test tube rack, aluminum foil, light source, and a goldfish is optional for an extension activity.

This is a 2 day lab. The first day students will come up with an experimental design and set up their lab, and the following day they will look at their results and make conclusions. With guidance this lab is also great for ELL and SPED students because the results are so easy to see- a simple color change!

Have questions on how I set up this lab or just want more details? Check out my blog post:

You might also be interested in:

Carbon Cycle Game

Carbon Footprint Analysis

Killer Carbon Close Reading

Ecology Writing Prompts

Biogeochemical Cycles Worksheets

Photosynthesis and Respiration Puzzle

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Total Pages
5 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere. Examples of models could include simulations and mathematical models. Assessment does not include the specific chemical steps of photosynthesis and respiration.
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms. Emphasis is on tracing movement of matter and flow of energy. Assessment does not include the biochemical mechanisms of photosynthesis.


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