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Photosynthesis: Investigation 1 - Chromatography

In Investigation One, you will be introduced to Photosynthesis by exploring the science of chromatography. During this Investigation, you will:

  1. Apply your knowledge of chlorophyll a and b and carotenoids and their responsibility in plant color by leeching the pigments from spinach leaves using a process called, chromatography.

Through this experiment, you will conclude that:

  1. The spinach extract was separated into bright green and a yellow-green color. This separation tells us that green chlorophyll is not the only pigment contained in spinach leaves.  The leaves also contain yellow and yellow-green pigments.

Photosynthesis: Investigation 2 - Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen

In Investigation Two, you will explore the effect of light on the process of photosynthesis. You will also analyze the relationship between light and carbon dioxide and oxygen levels. During this Investigation, you will:


  1. Test carbon dioxide levels by exposing light to an elodea plant in one test tube of 25ml water and a pH indicator, phenol red. These results will be compared to a control test tube exposed to the same light and containing phenol red but no elodea plant.
  2. Use an Oxygen Meter to measure oxygen levels in a beaker containing water and elodea plant and compare it to a control beaker filled with water but no elodea plant. Both beakers will be exposed to light.

Photosynthesis: Investigation 3 - Parts of Plants

In Investigation Three, you will continue your exploration of light and photosynthesis. In particular, certain parts of the plant perform the process of photosynthesis. During this Investigation, you will:


  1. Use an Oxygen Meter to measure dissolved oxygen levels in two beakers exposed to light. One beaker will contain water and elodea plant. The other beaker will contain only water.
  2. Create three wet mount slides: whole elodea leaf, cross-section of an elodea stem, and longitudinal section of an elodea stem. You will use the microscope to compare the cellular structures of the elodea’s leaf and stem.

Photosynthesis: Investigation 4 - Pigments

In Investigation Four, you will learn that certain plant pigments are required for photosynthesis. During this Investigation, you will:


  1. Use iodine to identify the location of starch (sugar product of photosynthesis) in a coleus plant.

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