Photosynthesis Lesson for Kids: Process & Steps

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Did you know plants can make their own food? Plants use a process called photosynthesis to make food and oxygen. Learn how plants use carbon dioxide, water and light to run photosynthesis.

What is Photosynthesis?

Wouldn't it be cool if your body could make food? All you would have to do is tell your body that you're hungry for a taco and like magic; a warm, yummy taco would be ready for you to crunch. Unfortunately, people can't make their own food, but plants can! Photosynthesis is the process plants use to convert carbon dioxide, water and sunlight into food.

Photosynthesis is a big word, but it's easy to understand if you remember that it's two Greek words put together. The word photo means light and the word synthesis means to combine things, so photosynthesis is the combining of carbon dioxide and water with light.

Three Ingredients of Photosynthesis

There are three things that a plant needs to make food: carbon dioxide, water and sunlight. You might have heard of carbon dioxide before; it's the gas you breathe out of your lungs when you exhale. It's also a gas found in our environment. Plants get water from rain or your watering can, and the sun provides the energy to run photosynthesis.

How It Works

Photosynthesis takes place in the leaves of the plant. First, water is pulled into the plant through the roots. This water passes up the plant stem and into the leaves.

Next, plants have to capture carbon dioxide from the air. Carbon dioxide is absorbed into the plant leaves through small openings called stomata.

Stomata shown under a powerful microscope

Photosynthesis is now ready to take place, but it needs energy. The energy to fuel photosynthesis comes from sunlight.

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