Chloroplast Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Cheryl Likins

An experienced middle school and adult education instructor, Cheryl taught science, business and humanities courses. She completed doctoral work in science.

Green plants can make their own food! Does that surprise you? Because of a tiny structure known as a chloroplast, plants can be pretty independent. What's even more impressive is that you need a microscope to see chloroplasts, because they are very small.

What are Chloroplasts?

If someone told you that there are tiny factories inside the leaves of green plants, would you believe them? Surprise! It's actually true, and they're called chloroplasts.

The word chloroplast derives from two Greek words; chloros, meaning green and plastis, meaning one who forms. Chloroplasts work like little machines inside of plants making food. They are very small, so you would not be able to see them with your eyes. You need to use a microscope to see chloroplasts inside of the plant. A plant's green leaves and stems are made up of many individual cells, which are the smallest functional unit of an organism; you will learn more about these in another lesson. Inside of these plant cells are the hard-working chloroplasts, which have other tiny important structures inside of them.

green plant
green plant

Their Job

Although chloroplasts are very small, they have even smaller structures inside that work to give plants energy and food. That's pretty remarkable, yet the way that they make this food is even more interesting. Let's check it out!

Chloroplasts use sunlight, water, and a gas called CO2 or carbon dioxide to make food! That's how these green plants eat.

plant cells
plant cells

This special food made from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide is a kind of sugar, or glucose. Plants can easily store this sugar in their leaves and stems, so that they have enough energy to grow. Plants are just like you, they need food too to grow big and strong.

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