Sugar, starch or cellulose? What carbohydrates do plants make?


In this practical activity, pupils test a variety of plant products for different sorts of carbohydrates, including glucose, starch and cellulose. These plant products can be fresh fruit and vegetables, but it is also interesting to test materials such as cotton wool and egg boxes, which contain a high proportion of cellulose.

This resource tackles the learning objective ‘“Carbohydrates can be found in a range of plant organs”. This is activity 4 in the ‘Photosynthesis: A Survival Guide’ scheme, and follows on from Activity 3, ‘Let’s talk about carbohydrates’, in which students learn about the range of carbohydrates that plants produce.

This is another good opportunity to get students engaged in practical work related to photosynthesis and will stretch their understanding of the carbohydrates involved beyond  the simple standard equation given at KS3 that photosynthesis results in glucose.

This resource is designed for 11-14 pupils but could be extended for use with older students as appropriate.

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