| OBJECTIVES | STANDARDS
| BACKGROUND | PROCEDURES |
ASSESSMENT | RESOURCES
peaches or other fruit grown in South Carolina
paper (brown, green and black)
- (If there
are no plants in the classroom, bring some in for this activity.)
Have students observe the plants and think about how plants
get the food they need to live. Do they eat other animals
or plants? Explain the term "producer" and
tell them that all plants are producers. Explain that like
a cook making food, plants need certain ingredients to produce
the food they need. Tell the students they will pretend to
be plants and, like plants, will mix ingredients together
to make their own food.
students think about plants in the classroom and discuss
what plants need in order to survive. Discuss with the
students how plants need air, water, nutrients and sunlight.
Talk about the adaptations of plants that allow them
to collect these things. Roots collect water and nutrients
from the soil. Leaves collect air and sunlight. By collecting
these four things, the plant has the ingredients it
needs to make its own food.
three students come to the front of the classroom and
designate one to be air, one to be water and one to
be nutrients. These students will wear signs around
their necks so that the class will remember what they
represent. The rest of the students will pretend to
be plants and will sit at their desks.
the students who are plants a disposable cup, a spoon and
construction paper to cutout shapes to represent leaves and
roots. Have them tape the construction paper leaves to the
side of the cup and the construction paper roots to the bottom
of the cup. Add a drop of green food coloring to each students
cup to represent chlorophyll, and explain the importance of
this green substance to allow plants to produce food. Tell
the students that because they are plants, they are producers
who need to make their own food, and thus must gather their
ingredients to do so. They will gather these from the students
representing air, nutrients and water. Give the student representing
air a large plastic bowl containing Jiffy biscuit mix. Give
the student representing water a large plastic bowl containing
water. Give the student representing nutrients a large plastic
bowl containing brown sugar. (If you want to improve
the end taste of the producer pancakes, mix a little cinnamon
into the brown sugar before the activity begins.)
the air, water and nutrients students sit at the front
of the classroom with the bowls. Tell the "plant"
students they will be simulating how a plant makes its
own food. They will bring their cup up to the front
of the classroom to receive the "ingredients"
they need. Each "plant" student will shake
the leaves on their cups (the adaptation used to collect
air) to indicate to the "air" students
to spoon two spoonfuls of biscuit mix in their cup.
Each "plant" student will shake the roots
on his cup (the adaptation used to collect water) to
indicate to the "water" student to spoon one
spoonful of water in their cup. Each "plant"
student will shake the roots on his cup (the adaptation
used to collect nutrients) to indicate to the "nutrients"
student to spoon two spoonfuls of brown sugar in the
cup. The "plant" students will then stir these
ingredients together with a spoon.
teacher may want to write these directions on the
spoonfuls of air, 2 spoonfuls of nutrients and 2 spoonfuls
students are curious as to why these amounts are used,
it does not correlate to actual amounts used by the
plants (see Background Information). The measurements
allow the students to produce something that they
themselves can eat. Use teaspoons or tablespoons,
depending on how much pancake batter you want.
the "plant" students have acquired the air,
nutrients and water, ask the students what the mixture
is missing to make it a finished food product. The answer
is heat. Heat is energy, and like cooks need heat to
turn batter into pancakes, plants need the energy of
the sun to turn those ingredients into food. Have the
students drop their mixture on the electric skillet.
Tell the students that the electric skillet represents
the sun and the energy the sun gives off that is necessary
for a plant to produce food.
the batter like normal pancakes and have the students
observe the producer pancakes as they cook. Tell the
students that the bubbles in the pancakes represent
oxygen escaping and that the steam being released represents
lost water vapor, both products of photosynthesis. When
the producer pancakes are done, allow the students to
eat the pancakes. Tell the students that the food made
by plants are sugars. Explain how the plant uses the
food it makes to give it the energy it needs to perform
its life functions. Explain some of the ways a plant
stores its food energy. Give the students some fruit
to eat so they can taste the sugar. Explain to the students
that all of the energy in a food chain comes originally
from the sun and can only be used by animals when it
is converted into food by plants. Without producers,
animals would not be able to survive.
will observe actual plants to reinforce how producers
acquire food. A plant (or 2 or 3 plants) with many leaves,
such as a philedendron, should be placed on the windowsill.
Students should tape black construction paper around
certain leaves while leaving other leaves exposed to
on the producer pancakes activity, students should predict
what will happen to the leaves that are in direct sunlight
as compared to the leaves that are covered by construction
paper. How will having sunlight and having no sunlight
affect the different leaves? Students will write their
predictions in their journals.
will make observations in their journals of the plant
leaves over the course of two weeks. Students will keep
a record of when they water the plant and what general
changes they have noticed occurring to the leaves.
the end of two weeks of observations have students compare
their observations with their original predictions.
How do they match up? Have students discuss and write
their ideas in their journals. If plants are producers,
what is happening to the leaves that do not get sunlight?
Have students discuss and write their ideas in their
advanced students or students in the fifth grade, explain
more in depth the process of photosynthesis. The biscuit
mix represents carbon dioxide and this mixes with water
and then, through the energy of the sun, this is converted
into sugar and oxygen. Mix with amounts that correspond
to the amounts used in photosynthesis, six spoonfuls of
biscuit mix to represent six molecules of carbon dioxide
and six spoonfuls of water to represent six molecules
of water. The sugar that is mixed in the bowl still represents
nutrients, but explain that though nutrients are necessary
for the survival of the plant, they are not actually used
in the process of photosynthesis.
would we eat if there were no plants to make food?
humans "make" food, are they producers? Is
cooking the same thing as what a plant does to produce
its own food?