Light and Air are Important to Plants


Experiment: Light and Air are Important to Plants

Grades: K – 8

What happens when you block light from a plant? Cut various shapes in aluminum foil and attach shapes to the leaf of a plant using paper clips. Leave the plant for a week and see what happens! The second part of this is coating the underside of a few leaves vaseline to starve it of carbon dioxide. This shows students carbon dioxide is also needed for photosynthesis and demonstrates effects similar to starving it of light.

Time: 30 mins

Follow up lesson: 3 or more days later 

Plants, just like humans, need essential resources to survive. We use the term LAWNS to remember them.

L – Light • A – Air • W- Water • N – Nutrients • S – Soil

In this experiment, we will look at two plant needs: light and air.

Through a process called photosynthesis, plants use the energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide, soil nutrients, and water into food! The food they produce is a type of sugar called glucose which they can use right away if they’re hungry or they can store it in the plant to use later on. Leaves take in air through the roots and leaves, but also release oxygen back into the air through small pores called stomata found on the underside of the leaves. Plants do us a favour because we humans need oxygen to breathe and live.

Plants have special structures in their leaves which contain a green pigment called chlorophyll. Green leaves are a sign that plants are photosynthesizing and making food!

When we block the sun, plants cannot photosynthesize and make the food they need to live. Blocking the pores in the leaves also slows down photosynthesis by starving it of carbon dioxide, which in turn stops it from producing the oxygen that we need.

Materials needed for shoebox maze:

  • 1 Plant, preferably with large leaves (per test)
  • Aluminium foil
  • Paper clips
  • Vaseline
  • Ribbon marker
  •  Scissors
  • Phone camera





Join our mailing list!

Subscribe to receive inspiration, free resources and gardening tips straight to your inbox!

For a limited time, you'll receive a digital copy of AITC-Canada's newest illustrated children's book, Blossom's Big Job - available in French or English! Link to book downloads will be sent after subscribing.

Thanks for joining, talk soon!