Science 5: Rates of Photosynthesis
Today we'll learn about what makes plants photosynthesize faster or slower. Spoiler alert: standing next a tree and shouting "Go, go, go, go!" probably won't change things much.
|Elementary and Middle School||5th Grade|
wearing a backpack...
Another thing that doesn't happen too much in the winter? Photosynthesis. [Plant looking sad]
This is because the process of photosynthesis depends on light, so naturally it's going
to happen a lot more during a sunny day in summer than a gloomy day in winter.
Uh…no offense, winter. We love you, too. So just in case we need a quick refresher, [Diagram of photosynthesis]
photosynthesis is the process by which plants are able to take sunlight and turn it into
energy to survive and grow.
So naturally, a tree in the summer is going to look pretty darn full of life. [Sunflowers dancing in summer]
But as every student painfully experiences each year, summer cannot last forever. [Students freezing playing soccer in winter]
And when the sun goes away for long periods of time, trees aren't able to keep up the
energy needed to maintain their previously-energetic, vibrant selves. [Tree looks tired]
Maybe they should chug a Red Bull, or something… [Tree drinking a can of Red Bull]
But when it gets cold, and the trees can't photosynthesize as well, it can sometimes
lose its leaves. We promise, this story isn't super sad. [Leaves falling from the tree]
Eventually, once it's warm and the buffet table is packed with lots of sun and nutrients, [Plants growing in the sun]
they get back to growing.
Fun fact: that's why seeds are usually planted in spring, so when summer comes along
the plants can grow really, really fast.
Well..except in places like deserts, because sunlight is only one part of the equation [Cactus growing out of sand]
– and plants without any water won't grow much at all.
But when it does rain in the desert, you can bet those plants will grow fast.
Naturally, then, it makes sense that photosynthesis happens a ton in places where there's water [Underwater plants]
all the time. And where is there water all of the time?
Ding ding ding! The ocean.
Kelp plants on the coast of California can grow up to 1 meter per day when the conditions [Plant looks annoyed at kid diving]
are just right. So if you're hoping for a growth spurt, try moving in with some kelp.
We hear they're pretty quiet roommates. So as you can see, rates of photosynthesis
can vary depending on where the plant is, what time of year it is, and what access to sunlight
and water it might have.
That's why you don't see giant cacti forests all over the desert. A desert cactus generally
has a hard time growing up to be big and strong. [Lots of cacti growing out the sand]
But on the bright side, just look at how cute this lil' guy is! [Cactus asking for a hug]