Investigation 2: How do plants get and use energy and matter?

Lesson 2.1 What does each part of the plant do?

  • In this lesson, students will examine the bean sprouts, and use visual media resources to explore uses and adaptations of plants.  Students figure out that different parts of a plant each have their own structure and function, which allows plants to get the air, water, and light they need to live and grow.
  • By learning about the large-scale structures of plants, this lesson sets the stage for Lesson 2.3, where students will dig deeper into how plants use their structures to obtain and rearrange matter in the process of photosynthesis.

Lesson 2.2 How can a dichotomous key help us identify organisms in an ecosystem?

  • In this lesson, students will learn how to identify different plants and plant species looking at the different parts as identifiers. Students will learn to use a dichotomous key as a tool to identify organisms in an ecosystem.
  • By learning how to identify plants in an ecosystem, this lesson sets the stage for Investigation 4 where students will think about the health and diversity of the watershed ecosystem.

Lesson 2.3 What is photosynthesis?

  • In this lesson, students will use a hands-on model to describe how plants use sunlight, water, and air to produce their own food so that they can grow. Students figure out that the process of photosynthesis involves energy (sunlight) and small particles (water and carbon dioxide) that move into the plant, and those plants use energy to change air and water into their own plant matter.  
  • By understanding how plants use matter, students will be able to connect this to the idea that plants are involved in the cycling of matter and flow of energy in an ecosystem.

Student Science Journal

Investigation 2 Handouts and Resources