2 February Science 8 The History of the Discovery(ies) of Photosynthesis–Claims and Evidence

Recall the basic claim about photosynthesis: Green plants and phytoplankton are able to take carbon dioxide and water, and with the energy from light, initiate a complex set of chemical reactions that produce glucose, oxygen, and “new” water.

6 CO2+ 12 H2O–> light –>C6H12O6 + 6 O2 + 6 H2O

Remember that the light interacts with various structures/molecules in the cells of photosynthetic organisms (green plants and phytoplankton). The light is absorbed by these structures/molecules and the light energy is transformed into chemical energy that then powers various sets of reactions. How this all happens is full of fascinating detail.Glucose can then be used for building material and fuel to power other reactions that characterize life.

Oxygen is later involved in the aerobic metabolism of glucose by living things, both plant and animal. Carbon dioxide is a product of the metabolism.

When trying to learn about and understand photosynthesis, the learner is faced with the dilemma of detail. Simplifications may make it seem easier to understand, but they may also mislead. The full set of details, on the other hand, may seem overwhelming to try to learn. What is the solution for you?????

Episodes in the history of the discovery of photosynthesis:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKMNig0Cz04

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011wz4q/clips

Jan van Helmont

A group project to portray the story, the findings, the reasoning, and our perspective.

A cool cartoon version: http://www.stuartmcmillen.com/comic/thin-air/#page-1

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