Resources for PreK-8 Activity 42 – Sunlight and Shades of Green

This activity introduces students to photosynthesis, the process that enables trees and other green plants to use sunlight to manufacture their own food. Students will test what happens when they block sunlight from the leaves of a tree or shrub, and then they will interpret their findings.

This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 


The following tools and resources may be used to enhance the activity.

  • Into the Outdoors: The Importance of Plants and Pollinators

    Did you know that 1/3 of the food you eat from the United States depends on pollinators? Pollinators, such as bees, play a vital role in how plants develop fruit and spread their seeds. Into the Outdoors explains this role in a 5-minute video called Plants and Pollinators. The video also explains how other organisms, such as bacteria, help plants grow and reproduce using nitrogen fixation. This video is suitable for elementary and middle school students.

  • Science of Seasons

    Check out the Science of Seasons page from the Forest Service Northern Research Station. This extensive resource includes podcasts, research stories, and publications related to the impacts winter has on forest ecosystems. Learn why you should resist the temptation to call winter the “dormant season.” From the soil to hydrology to wildlife, there is much more going on in winter than meets the eye!

  • Think Garden Video Series

    This Think Garden video collection was produced by Kentucky Educational Television for elementary students as a teaching tool about growing food and all elements around food gardening. Consider using it to support PLT GreenWorks! or GreenSchools projects as we enter the growing season.

  • NACD’s Soil Education Resources

    Have a look at NACD’s soil resources: Soil to Spoon and Dig Deeper: Mysteries in the Soil. Existing tools feature a poster contest, student booklets, educator guides, and ideas for hands-on activities.

  • Digital Game: The Ruby Realm

    The Ruby Realm is a multi-level adventure game about photosynthesis. Players must navigate a cavern in search of missing friends. Luckily, Biobot Bob– a robot powered by artificial photosynthesis– is there to help payers fend off evil enemies. Players must find light sources where Bob can generate the glucose he needs for power. Using Bob’s Molecule Replicator, they shoot light beams at carbon dioxide and water molecules, breaking them apart and recombining the atoms to form glucose. Through these and similar actions, the game helps students construct an understanding of photosynthesis by letting them actively participate in the process of chemical change.