Simplify the Calvin Cycle and make learning fun, especially for kinesthetic learners! Students often become overwhelmed by the multiple steps and complex names of the Calvin Cycle. Help your students focus on the Cross Cutting Concept of matter and energy flow by deemphasizing names and demonstrating how the carbon atoms and high energy or “excited” electrons move through each step of the process.
This activity was created to allow your students to explore the idea of the conservation of matter and energy as it flows through the process of photosynthesis. Powerpoint slides with pictures of each model will guide your students through the modeling process. While the Calvin Cycle can seem abstract and complex to the average biology student, this activity simplifies the process and helps the student trace where the atoms are moving and how energy is transferred in the process. By saying that this model is simplified, it only looks at how carbon atoms and energy, transferred by high energy electrons and hydrogen is moved through the cycle. Oxygen atoms are purposefully ignored to allow students to focus on the conservation of energy and matter.
This will allow your students to meet NGSS-HS-LS1-5 “Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy” (NGSS Lead States, 2013), focusing in on the Cross Cutting Concept of matter and energy flow and the Science and Engineering Practice of developing and using models.
You will need pastel colored marshmallows (yellow, pink, and blue are used in the pictures in the slides) and toothpicks for this activity.
Powerpoint slides and a teacher’s guide are included.
Teaching biology with NGSS? Check out these resources:
⭐ Botany NGSS Crossing Cutting Concepts Collaborative Unit ⭐ Ecosystem (Biogeochemical) Cycles Graphic Organizer ⭐ Energy Pyramid Study- How Many Calories Are In That Hamburger?- NGSS-HS-LS2-4 ⭐ Food Webs in a Biome Project NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas- LS2.A and LS2.B