Photosynthesis Activity: Calvin Cycle Cut and Paste Activity

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The Calvin Cycle is such a challenging thing 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 Calvin Cycle.

This is an enzymatic process and the most important enzyme here is RuBisCO. This enzyme is super special because it can “fix” carbon from the air and very few other enzymes in nature can do this. I put a lot of focus on this enzyme and I don’t mention the other enzyme names involved, but I do tell students that all of the reactions use enzymes.

The Calvin Cycle is broken down into several steps but the most important part when following the process is to watch how many carbons are in each step. Because of the way the Calvin Cycle works, I like to show “3 rotations” of the cycle at once, so students can see that 3 carbons go in (as carbon dioxide) and 3 carbons leave (in G3P). If you show only one ribulose bisphosphate at once, it is really hard for students to see that.

With this activity, you can copy the cut-out sheets on different colored paper if you would like, to make their charts colorful.

There are two question and reading pages. These works best if students read and answer the questions one section at a time. They may enjoy working in groups.

I have included 2 versions of the activity:
1 version shows only the carbon atoms in each molecule.
1 version shows the carbon and oxygen atoms in each molecule.
Carbons are shown as black circles and oxygens are shown as white circles.

Check out my other Respiration and Photosynthesis Resources

Light Dependent Reactions Coloring Page, Reading, and Questions

Glycolysis Cut-and-Paste Activity

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Total Pages
10
Answer Key
Included
Teaching Duration
1 hour

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Photosynthesis Activity: Calvin Cycle Cut and Paste Activity
Photosynthesis Activity: Calvin Cycle Cut and Paste Activity
Photosynthesis Activity: Calvin Cycle Cut and Paste Activity
Photosynthesis Activity: Calvin Cycle Cut and Paste Activity
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