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Plants | Activity 4.4

Activity 4.4: Explaining How Plants Make Food: Photosynthesis (40 min)

Target Student Performance

Students explain how matter moves and changes and how energy changes during photosynthesis in a potato plant’s leaf cells.

Resources You Provide

Resources Provided

Recurring Resources


1. Use the instructional model to show students where they are in the course of the unit.


Use 4.4 Grading the Explanations Tools for Potato Photosynthesis to grade student responses. At this point, students can be held accountable for correct answers. If students are still struggling with these concepts, you may want to revisit parts of the lesson they are finding difficult. Use Assessing the Plants Matter Tracing Tool to grade the tool.

  • Provide sentence stems for discussion and filling in the Explanations Tool
  • Work through the tool as a class and provide sentence stems for final explanation
  • Hand out and refer to Example Plant Explanations Handout when working on the Explanations Tool
  • Refer to the word wall for questions on photosynthesis related vocabulary
  • Refer to the Plants Matter Tracing Tool to support students further

The Three Questions Explanation Checklist on the back of the
Three Questions Handout can be used to scaffold students’ explanations in many ways.

  • Students refer to the checklist as they are constructing their explanations.
  • Students use the checklist as they are sharing and revising their explanations with a partner.
  • Students use the checklist to critique and revise their final explanations.
  • Students use the checklist to critique the example explanations for each unit.
  • Students use the checklist to create and/or evaluate a whole-class consensus explanation.

We recommend using this checklist with a gradual release. As students improve in their ability to write their own explanations, they may rely on the checklist.

Extending the Learning