Kids’ Corner: Get your chlorophyll of plants
By Elizabeth Kubey
What is your favorite recipe? One of mine is butternut squash chili! I go to the store to pick up all the ingredients for my favorite dish. But unlike us, plants can’t go shopping for their meals. Instead, they use the ingredients in their environment to make their own food. These activities will show us what that’s like for our plant friends.
Before we start our activities, let’s learn some terms:
✓ Best for ages 8+ ✓ 20 minutes ✓ Camera ✓ Printer ✓ Drawing Materials
Photosynthesis is energy transformation. Energy is power that comes from chemical or physical sources. Our bodies transform food we eat into energy we can use to be active. Plants take in light energy and transform it into chemical energy to make food (glucose). That’s called photosynthesis.
Now that you know a bit more about photosynthesis, let’s connect the process to native plants around you.
- Find a native plant and see if you can imagine how the photosynthesis process flows through this plant.
- Take a photo of a native plant and print it out.
- Following the example, draw the arrows and label what the arrows show. You can imagine what the roots might look like below the soil or research in a book or online what they look like.
- Compare your photo to a friend’s!
Looking at the photo on the right,
How many different colors do you see in these leaves?
If you see more than one color, why do you think that is?
Go outside and find a tree in your neighborhood. Take photos of the same tree leaves over the season to see how they change.
(Lesson and images adapted from ellenjmchenry.com)
✓ Best for ages 10+ ✓ 30 minutes ✓ Group of 4-10 ✓ Green construction paper ✓ 10 index cards
✓ Envelopes ✓ Glue ✓ Marker ✓ Paper ✓ Flashlight ✓ Kids scissors
Photosynthesis requires teamwork between all players in the process! Let’s play a fun game to work together and better understand photosynthesis: water + carbon dioxide + sunlight = oxygen
Before we start our activities, let’s start learn some terms:
Thank you, plants!
✓ Best for ages 6+ ✓ 15 minutes ✓ Paper ✓ Pen
Photosynthesis is an important process that sustains life on Earth. Plants provide us cleaner air and water, food, and medicines.
In some Native languages the term for plants translates to “those who
take care of us.
― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
Find a space to write thank you letters. First, write a letter from you to a native plant. Then, write one as if you were that plant thanking a part of your ecosystem for helping you thrive. Maybe even write a third one to a family member you forget to say thanks to! Use the example letter to get started.
Share your letters with Elizabeth! Post on social media
and tag @californianativeplantsociety or email her at email@example.com.