Where Does a Plant's Mass Come From?

This analysis and discussion activity helps students to understand that a large part of a plant’s mass consists of water, most of the biomass comes from carbon dioxide, and minerals from the soil contribute only a tiny amount of the plant’s mass. This activity is aligned with NGSS standards. For example,students engage in analyzing and interpreting data and arguing from evidence. 

The first attached file has the recommended Student Handout, the second attached file has a more challenging version of the Student Handout, and the third attached file has the Teacher Notes.

PlantMassFromSHO.docx975.55 KB
PlantMassFromSHOchal.docx1.2 MB
PlantMassFromTN.docx718.65 KB


iwaldron's picture

2014 revision

The questions in the Student Handout have been clarified so students can more readily think through the logical flow of the argument. The revised Teacher Notes have improved suggestions for teaching this activity and enhanced background information and also clarify the alignment of this activity with Next Generation Science Standards.

Logan mannix's picture


Thanks for the help

iwaldron's picture

Revised Version of Student Handout

This revised student handout provides a more complete set of questions to help students evaluate each of the hypotheses concerning where a plant's organic mass comes from.  In addition, the wording and logic of the questions has been clarified.

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