Photosynthesis introduces students to the process by which plants make food. Students will learn the steps of this process and discover that the air they breathe is a direct result of photosynthesis.

There are several suggestions in the “Options for Lesson” section that you may want to use for your class. For instance, you can use the homework and practice worksheets as quizzes if you want to. You could also take students outside as you deliver the lesson. As another alternative or additional activity, you may choose to have students grow their own plants.

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What our Photosynthesis lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Photosynthesis explores this amazing natural process and provides students with a basic foundation of understanding. Students will be able to define photosynthesis and explain that this process is how plants make their food. They will also recognize that, through this same process, plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. This lesson is for students in 1st grade and 2nd grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The supplies you need for this lesson include colored pencils, markers, or crayons. To prepare, you will need to get a small plant and small pieces of candy, veggies, and so on.

Options for Lesson

You will find several suggestions in the “Options for Lesson” section for additional activities or alternative ideas for the lesson. One option is to use the homework or practice worksheet as a quiz. Another idea is to take students outside for the lesson and choose a plant or tree as the focus of the lesson. It could be a good idea to combine this lesson with the lesson about the food chain. You could also extend the lesson and allow students to grow their own small plants and record the plants’ growth throughout the course of a week. If your students are older, you could have them write stories from the perspective of a plant about the process of photosynthesis.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page provides an additional paragraph of guidance or ideas. It suggests focusing on what this process does for plants and humans and not on the possibly tricky key terms. It also mentions that this is an intro lesson and students will learn more about the process in later grades. Use the blank lines to write down whatever ideas or thoughts you have before the lesson.


How Plants Make Food

The Photosynthesis lesson plan contains two pages of instructional content. The lesson first describes the process of photosynthesis step by step. Plants take in sunlight as energy, as well as carbon dioxide, through both its leaves and other green parts. Then the plants make oxygen and release it into the air. Students will discover that a chemical inside the plant called chlorophyll traps the sun’s energy. And the chloroplasts inside of that chemical combine everything to create food for the plant in the form of sugar.

A diagram on the first page displays a picture of a sunflower and labels the different components of the photosynthesis process. An arrow leads from the sun and points to the sunflower’s leaves. It shows a carbon dioxide molecule with an arrow pointing to the leaves as well. A little splash of water has an arrow pointing to the roots beneath the soil. Those are all the components that enter the plant.

The outputs include oxygen and sugar. An arrow points from the sunflower’s leaves to an oxygen molecule. Another arrow points to cubes of sugar. The sugar is not actually outside of the plant. However, the diagram is showing the inputs and outputs of various components. You may need to explain to students that the sugar remains inside the plant.

What Happens Next

Since plants are living organisms just like animals, they need food and energy to survive. Animals can eat their food, including plants, with their mouths. Plants, however, don’t have mouths and cannot eat the same way that animals do. The process of photosynthesis exists so that plants can eat and survive too. Once a plant finishes making its food, its stem helps send the food, as well as nutrients, throughout the rest of the plant.

Without plants and their ability to make their own food through photosynthesis, all other living things could not possibly survive. For one thing, people and animals eat plants as their own source of food. But the oxygen that plants release is essential to the survival of living things. In addition, plants provide us with the energy that they’ve absorbed from the sun when we consume them. Students will discover that fruits and vegetables actually contain the most energy.


The Photosynthesis lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. The goal is for students to approach the subject matter in different ways to solidify their grasp of the content they learned. You can look at the guidelines on the classroom procedure page to know when to hand out each worksheet.


The activity worksheet provides students the opportunity to color in a blank picture that represents the process of photosynthesis. There are already labels on the figure, but students will color each step of the process. If you want, you can make it a puzzle and cut out the pieces in advance. After students color the elements, have them put them in order on another piece of paper.


For the practice worksheet, students will read through four short paragraphs. Each paragraph has missing terms and contains a separate word bank of five terms. Students will fill in the blanks using the correct terms for each paragraph.


The homework assignment is essentially the opposite of the activity. The worksheet provides a colorful picture that represents photosynthesis. There are sentences around each part of the picture where a label belongs. Students must fill in the blanks in these sentences with the correct labels, such as water, oxygen, or light.

Worksheet Answer Keys

The pages at the end of the lesson are answer keys for the practice worksheet and homework assignment. The practice answer key shows the correct answers in red ink. The answer key for the homework assignment provides the diagram with the correct terms in red. It also has a list of the statements from the diagram on a separate page to make it easier to keep track of. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


1st Grade, 2nd Grade



State Educational Standards

NGSS.K.LS1-1, NGSS.1.LS1-1, NGSS.2.LS2-2

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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Photosynthesis for Elementary Students

This was a well thought out lesson with great teacher/student prompting questions. The video was the perfect follow-up. and a good visual reference. The vocabulary used made a complicated science concept easy for elementary student learning. and comprehension. Two thumbs up!