On Wednesday, February 17, 2016 Mr. Tamsky’s 4th grade bi-lingual Spanish class at John Muir Elementary School came to Koshland Park for their afternoon lesson. Adrian Almquist, CommunityGrows’ Garden Programs Manager began to cover two difficult lessons—tackling photosynthesis and learning how to make origami cranes.
In an effort to understand photosynthesis, Adrian reminded the youth that photosynthesis is how plants eat and make their own food. Since the plants don’t have to move around to find food and they stay in one place, plants can make their food as long as they have three things. The three things are Carbon Dioxide, Water, and Light. Here’s what photosynthesis looks like: Carbon Dioxide + Water + Light —-> Sugar + Oxygen. An easy way to remember this is Cows Eat Wet Grass Outside…so CO2 + Energy + water –> Glucose + Oxygen.
Here’s how it works: Plants breathe, just like us. They even have little openings that can look like mouths, but they are too small for us to see without a microscope. When we breathe in, we want to breath in oxygen. Plants want to breathe in Carbon Dioxide. Plants also drink. This is why you need to water plants or they will die. They use their roots to suck water up into their bodies, and their little mouths to breath in the carbon dioxide. Once they have both of these things, all they need is light. Leaves are made up of a bunch of tiny cells, where this happens. Inside the cells are tiny little things called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are what makes leaves green, and they are also what takes the carbon dioxide, the water, and the light, and turns them into sugar and oxygen. The sugar is then used by the plants for food, and the oxygen is breathed out into the atmosphere. This process as a whole is “photosynthesis.”. Here is a great website that explains this for kids. If doing a short lesson on photosynthesis was not challenging enough, everyone also got a chance to make origami cranes. Adrian was very patient in leading the students through the various steps. It was impressive to see all of them working hard and trying to pay attention. Miraculously, by the end of class, all had finished their cranes and proudly displayed them as they left the garden. Here is a demonstration of how to make an origami crane.