Photosynthesis: Where do Plants get Energy?

The WISE project I chose to further develop was the “Photosynthesis” project originally created by Kelly Ryoo (ID: 2276). This project has several learning and response activities for students to interact with on the topics of energy transformation with Photosynthesis and how it pertains to an herbivore’s energy consumption. The project was aimed at students 6-8 and requires 4-5 hours to complete. The lesson asks students to make predictions, scaffold on previous knowledge, and contains many vocabulary definitions for words which students may be learning. In many of the lessons which I previewed, students were asked to link new concepts with their own experiences. The WISE projects, including “Photosynthesis” play a valuable role in providing a vehicle to integrate knowledge and scaffold it to student’s own experiences (Linn et al 2003).


One problem with this lesson is the need for these students to have prior knowledge about the topic they are learning; on several circumstances, students were asked to answer a multiple-choice question with no prior knowledge or experience with the vocabulary terms. Formative assessments in a lesson such as this one require students to first experience the content before being asked to make a composition, answer an inquiry question, or take a multiple-choice knowledge check. My efforts in this WISE project was to place these interactive tools in more appropriate places as well as to improve the scientific accuracy of the lesson. One further modification which can be made in the future would be to better address misconceptions around how plants gain the majority of their matter. I was unsatisfied that after this lesson, students may still believe that a plant or tree’s mass would mainly come from soil nutrients rather than acquired Carbon Dioxide in the air. Students bring to class many different fallacies about the topics which we learn in class (Linn et al 2003) which must be addressed before new knowledge can be gained (Brown & Palincsar 1986).



Brown, A., Palincsar, A. (1986). Guided, cooperative learning and individual knowledge acquisition. Center for the Study of Reading. Cambridge, MA. Retreived from:

Linn, M., Clark, D., & Slotta, J. (2003). Wise design for knowledge integration. Science Education, 87(4), 517-538. doi:10.1002/sce.10086

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