Did you know plants make their food? Wondering how?
Plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide from the air to make their food. This process is called photosynthesis. The term ‘photosynthesis’ is formed by ‘photo’ and ‘synthesis,’ which means ‘light’ and ‘producing something.’
Photosynthesis is a process where plants convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen in the presence of sunlight. The oxygen is released into the atmosphere, making plants an essential part of our ecosystem.
Keep reading this post where we explain the process of photosynthesis for kids and its related facts for children.
Process Of Photosynthesis
For photosynthesis, plants need three elements:
- Carbon dioxide
Once a plant gets these three materials, it starts collecting them.
- Carbon dioxide is absorbed through small pores or holes called stomata in the leaves.
- Water is absorbed by the roots and is passed through the stem on the way to the leaves.
- Sunlight is absorbed by a green chemical called chlorophyll, which is present in the leaves.
The process of photosynthesis takes place in the leaves, which are made of tiny cells. Each cell contains a structure called the chloroplast that has chlorophyll. It is the chemical that gives green color to the leaves.
After absorbing these three elements, leaves use the sunlight’s energy to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen and carbon dioxide combine to form glucose, which is a form of sugar, and oxygen is released into the atmosphere.
There are two phases in photosynthesis—
1. Light-dependent reactions
As the name suggests, these reactions can occur only when light is available to the plant. It helps to convert light energy into chemical energy. Chloroplasts capture sunlight and convert it into ATP and NADPH—used to create sugar in the second phase.
2. The Calvin cycle
The phase is named after the scientist Melvin C. Calvin, who discovered this process. In this cycle, reactions can occur even at night. The plant doesn’t require sunlight for this part of the process. This cycle requires ATP and NADPH produced in the light-dependent reactions for preparing glucose.
30 Photosynthesis Facts For Kids
- Photosynthesis enables plants to absorb energy from the sun.
- Glucose is not just a form of energy. Plants use glucose to build starch and cellulose.
- Chlorophyll absorbs blue and red wavelengths of light and reflects green. Hence, leaves appear green to our eyes.
- Algae and some bacteria can also use photosynthesis to create energy.
- There are different molecules in chlorophyll that absorb different colors. Hence, some leaves might appear red, purple, or gold.
- When six molecules of carbon dioxide and six molecules of water come together, they make one molecule of glucose and six molecules of oxygen.
- Cellular respiration is a technique through which the plant turns the energy into a usable form for both plants and animals.
- Cellular respiration uses oxygen and sugar and releases carbon dioxide and water.
- There is more than one type of photosynthesis. They are aerobic and anaerobic.
- The whole structure of a plant is made to support photosynthesis.
- Most life on earth is dependent on photosynthesis.
- The stomata release oxygen and water vapor.
- A network of vessels called ‘xylem’ within the stem of a plant enables transporting water from the roots to the leaves.
- Phloem are vessels present in the stem that carry energy from the leaves to other parts of the plant.
- Excess sugar is stored in the roots in the form of starch.
- Carotenoids are red-, yellow-, and orange-colored pigments that absorb blue and green light.
- Phycobilins are red and blue pigments found in algae and cyanobacteria.
- English clergyman and scientist Joseph Priestley first started studying photosynthesis in early 18th century.
- Dutch physician, Jan Ingenhousz, established the connection between light and photosynthesis.
- Thylakoid is a vital structure for photosynthesis. They are stacked into groups called grana. The gaps between grana are called the stroma.
- Photosynthesis has four main steps – carbon fixation, reduction, carbohydrate formation, and regeneration.
- Not all plants can photosynthesize. Some depend on a host to survive.
- The more plants you grow, the fresher air you will get.
- Photosynthesis takes place very quickly – less than 30 seconds.
- When you place a plant in a dark place, it cannot photosynthesize even if you water it regularly. It will die after some days.
- If you place a plant near a window, the plant automatically leans towards the window. Plants grow towards the source of light.
- Photosynthesis on earth converts 100-115 million tons of carbon into biomass every year.
- Phytoplankton found in oceans produces 70% of the world’s oxygen by photosynthesis.
- Plants use only 0.1-8% of the sunlight they get into energy.
- The first photosynthetic life originated nearly 3.4 billion years ago.
We see plants everywhere around us, but did you know that they are superheroes that produce their food and give out oxygen for us to breathe? Start taking care of plants better and plant new ones more frequently in your garden so that all of us get lots of oxygen to breathe.