Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Homeschool Biology: CK-12 Biology Chapter 4--Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration

The kids and I are using CK-12's 9th/10th grade Biology textbook as the spine for this year's biology curriculum--for Will, who is in the eighth grade but who is taking high school-level coursework, this will be recorded as Honors Biology on her transcript.

In addition to that textbook, we're using The Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments as our lab manual, and of course we've got a plethora of other reading/viewing/listening resources and hands-on activities to enrich our study.


Chapter 4 of CK-12's Biology textbook is a meaty one, with lots of awesome hands-on enrichment to do--there's molecular modeling, experiments and demonstrations, and lots of observation. Here's what my lesson plans for the chapter looked like:

We split this chapter into three entire weeks--you could do this in one week, but it would be an awfully science-heavy week for you. The kids read the chapter in sections, and then complete the review questions at the end of each section, writing their answers in their science notebooks. On other days, we explored the reading/viewing resources that I'll list at the bottom of this post.

I also assigned specific resources and hands-on assignments for each section. After reading "4.1 Energy for Life," the kids read the entry on photosynthesis in The Biology Book. This book is awesome because it's a historical encyclopedia of scientific discoveries in the field of biology--you get a factual explanation of photosynthesis, but you also get to place its discovery and study into historical context.

Syd also watched the BrainPOP movie on photosynthesis, then took its comprehension quiz. She LOOOOOVEES BrainPOP!

After reading this section is also when the kids practiced modeling the process of photosynthesis at a molecular level, using Zometools:







This exercise is a good math and chemistry enrichment, but most of all, it helps kids understand that photosynthesis is a concrete process that can be measured. And that's good, because we're about to measure it!

I helped the kids run an experiment from The Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments--Procedure IV 1.1: Observing Carbon Dioxide Uptake:




It's a surprisingly accessible experiment, although you'll have to order many of the supplies online, and it's super cool, demonstrating not just the process of photosynthesis but also the fact that science?

It's magic!

Will later remixed this experiment as part of her academic scholarship application for Space Camp, so it also lends itself to testing a ton of other variables. If I had it to do over again, I would probably run this experiment with the kids first, then require them to design and run a remixed experiment, variables of their own creation, independently. Will got a LOT out of having to do that for her application.

After the experiment, I required the kids to answer the questions about it in the lab manual. These were a little tough for Syd, but do-able.

We also ran the experiment Procedure IV 1.2: Determining the Effect of Light Intensity on Photosynthesis. I didn't want to buy the bulb that the book recommends, because it's spendy, so instead I used one of the heat lamp bulbs that we use to brood chicks. The kids still got results, but it took a LOT longer than it would have if I'd bought the proper bulb:


 I'd suggest buying the right one, but perhaps finding someone else who's experimenting with photosynthesis this year and splitting the cost.

Again, the kids both answered the questions about this experiment in the lab manual.

We didn't do any hands-on activities for the cellular respiration and anaerobic respiration units in this chapter, although Syd did watch the BrainPOP movie on cellular respiration and take the quiz afterwards.

Here are the YouTube videos that we watched during this chapter--I generally always use CrashCourse, SciShow, Khan Academy, and Ted-Ed as resources on YouTube:









And here are some of the other resources we used!

I'm randomly posting my lesson plans for Honors Biology out of order, because my life isn't confusing enough as it is, so although I haven't yet posted our work in chapters 2 or 3 of CK-12, here are my lesson plans for chapter 1 of CK-12 Biology.

Stay tuned, because we're on to the cell cycle now. Today, we're making meiosis cookies!

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