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In this class I went through how energy from the sun is involved in the food chain. I needed to go over what cells are since I hadn’t done that yet. I had the kids make plant cells at the end of class because we were discussing photosynthesis.
Sun (radiates heat and light to Earth)
Autotrophs (make food from the sun, water, and carbon dioxide)
Herbivore (eats plants)
Omnivore (eats plants and animals)
Carnivore (eats only animals)
Saprotroph (eats only dead plants and animals)
I had pictures up as examples of all of these to help the kids remember the different types of organisms.
At this point I needed to explain to the kids what a cell is. I had a cartoon picture of a castle with different things to represent the parts of an animal cell to help the kids understand the different roles they play in the cell.
Castle wall with gates –cell wall with membrane transporter proteins
Little men with mops –Lysosomes, these degrade things like old organelles inside the cell -the vacuole performs this function in plant cells
Library with book – Nucleus that contains DNA – the same DNA is in every cell, but the “book” is open to a different “page” in different cells so different proteins are ultimately made. In reality the DNA is coiled into a tight structure and unwound in the place that transcription needs to occur. Transcription is the process of making mRNA.
Factory – Endoplasmic Reticulum with ribosomes– The mRNA is translated to proteins in the ribosomes.
Bakeries – Mitochondria -Mitochondria produce energy in a form that can be used in the body by breaking down the sugar that was made in plants from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide.
Plant cells have another organelle – Chloroplasts which have green chlorophyll in them. This is where photosynthesis takes place.
I used loom bands for the vacuole membrane because the vacuole changes sizes in a plant. When the plant is short of water the vacuole shrinks and the plant becomes limp. When it gets water, the vacuole gets more liquid in it and the plant stops being limp. Below are some of the cells the kids made. I wanted them to make their own version of this craft instead of making an exact copy of my example, so I put up a cartoon of a plant cell and let them draw or construct the different parts.
In a previous class I had talked about electromagnetic radiation, and what happens to atoms when they come into contact with visible light. Some light is absorbed by atoms, and an electron will jump up to a higher orbit. Normally it falls back down and releases energy with a longer wavelength. In chloroplasts, that excited electron from a chlorophyll molecule gets taken by another molecule, and continues through the electron transport chain. Eventually that results in the creation of sugar and oxygen from carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight. Oxygen molecules are produced when water molecules are separated into hydrogen and oxygen. The electrons from the two hydrogen atoms go to the chlorophyll molecules that lost the excited electron when light was absorbed.
For more STEAM crafts click on the STEAM tab at the top of the page and take a look at my Pinterest Board.