Photosynthesis Equation Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Stephanie Matalone

Stephanie taught high school science and math and has a Master's Degree in Secondary Education.

In the lesson, we will learn about how plants use the sun to make energy. We will explore what else plants need to make energy, and find out what else plants make in the process.


Grass, trees, and flowers are all types of plants. Plants are usually green. Plants need food to grow and live. Plants can make their own food. Animals cannot make their own food. Animals must eat food.


Photosynthesis is a process plants use to make food. 'Photo' means light. 'Synthesis' means to make. Plants use light from the sun to make food. Plants break down food to get energy. Plants use energy to grow and make more plants. Humans and animals also break down food for energy. As you've probably experienced before, people get tired if they do not eat enough food.


Equations show what is used and made, and how things change. For example, baking using a lot of equations.

Here's an equation we could use for baking a cake:

Butter + Eggs + Flour + Sugar --> Cake

Baking a Cake

Butter, eggs, flour, and sugar are the ingredients in the equation, and cake is the product. The arrow shows change. The ingredients are changed into the product, or in other words butter, eggs, flour, and sugar are changed into cake.

Photosynthesis also has an equation. Sun, water, and carbon dioxide are the ingredients used in the equation. Oxygen and glucose are made in the process, which means that they are the products. Thus we can say that, in the photosynthesis equation, sun, water, and carbon dioxide change into oxygen and glucose.

Here's our full photosynthesis equation:

Sunlight + Water + Carbon Dioxide --> Oxygen + Glucose (Food)

Ingredients of Photosynthesis

Sunlight is used in photosynthesis. A plant's leaves collect sunlight and use it as a source of energy for photosynthesis. This energy helps make the plant's food.

Water is also used in photosynthesis. Water is a liquid, and plants typically find it in soil. Roots on the plant go into the soil and bring water into the plant. Water is then split into its molecular components using the energy plants get from the sun. The split parts of water are turned into food.


Finally, carbon dioxide is used in photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is a gas that is found in the air. Humans and animals breathe out carbon dioxide, which eventually goes into plants through small holes in their leaves.

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