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Oxidative Phosphorylation in Respiration is challenging to teach because there are so many details. Some teachers simply skip over the details and just give students the net reaction to recite and regurgitate. I have taught it many times and I think the details are what make respiration (and biology in general) beautiful to understand. There are a few key learning goals I have for my students when they study the these reactions.
This is an enzymatic process. I remind them that enzymes are mostly made of proteins and proteins are large molecules that have protons, electrons, and neutrons, just like other molecules. They can gain or lose electrons through oxidation-reduction reactions.
Oxygen is the final electron acceptor. This fact always amazes students because they know oxygen is important for respiration, but it’s interesting that it is so essential, but only involved in the very last step. It’s important for students to understand that when oxygen isn’t available, the electron flow through the electron transport chain gets “backed up” and NADH’s build up, so there is no NAD+ to work in the citric acid cycle or pyruvate oxidation.
ATP is built using ATP synthase, and it is just like the ATP synthase in the chloroplast that is involved in light dependent reactions. Depending on whether I teach respiration or photosynthesis first, this is easy and students find it pretty cool that it works the exact same way.
Included in this activity are the following:
Four question and reading pages (and answer keys) – Pages 1-2 are reading, pages 3-4 are question pages
Oxidative Phosphorylation Coloring Page
Oxidative Phosphorylation Coloring Page answers
Check out my other Respiration and Photosynthesis Resources
Glycolysis Cut-and-Paste Activity
Krebs/Citric Acid Cycle Cut-and-Paste Activity
Light Dependent Reactions Coloring Page
Calvin Cycle Cut-and-Paste Activity
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