Welcome! This post has been written with the intention of helping you plan an engaging and comprehensive Photosynthesis & Respiration mini unit for your middle school science class. If you’re arriving to this page from somewhere other than the Teachers Pay Teachers site, this is the product that this guide was written for. Here’s how I teach using these resources:
Note: Items are listed in the order in which they would be used. Lessons are not broken into specific “days” as many of us have vastly different timings per class period.
- Video Introduction
I like to start this section with a little flipped classroom style activity. The students are assigned to watch two videos on photosynthesis and respiration and answer the questions included on the worksheet. By doing this, they’ve got a little bit of prior knowledge that they can draw on when we start our whole group lessons. Assign this for homework or classwork.
- Guided Reading
More and more I’ve been putting the onus on my students to read and learn on their own. With this assignment, students are guided through the reactions and important points. Great for a homework or extension or even reteaching.
- Presentation and Student Notes
This PPT presentation covers all the basics in both photosynthesis and respiration for your students’ note taking benefit! I’ve especially focused on the concepts of chemical reactions and the Law of Conservation of Mass as my own students come in with shockingly little chemistry knowledge.
- Graphic Organizer
This graphic organizer is a quick way to check for understanding as well as to help students focus in on the highlights of their learning.
- Photosynthesis Simulation Lab & Respiration Simulation Lab
I designed these labs because my students just needed to see how the atoms and molecules in these reactions actually rearrange themselves. Unfortunately, with their chemistry knowledge so lacking, the students have quite a hard time grasping the conservation of matter as it pertains to these important reactions. For more advanced students, I’d suggest a little more inquiry driven work. Don’t tell the students how many carbon dioxides can be formed from a glucose molecule. If you have some lower groups, perhaps clue them in in advance.
- Homework Sheet
A quick one page practice to review again the key learning.
- Self Checking Practice
I’ve become a fan of self checking practices as they prevent students from studying incorrect information. The riddles also give a clue to struggling students for answers they may not be sure about. Use this activity as a final review before assessing your students.
- NGSS Aligned Assessment
I designed this assessment based on the NGSS standards. In this curriculum, students are often asked to write and defend their ideas, so this assessment follows that pattern. Mark it as summative or formative, based on where you think your class is in the learning process.
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