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Name: _________________________________ Date: _______________ Block:_____

Photosynthesis Lab
Background Information:
Green plants use sunlight to make glucose. To do so, the plant must use carbon dioxide and water
in a process called photosynthesis. The glucose made by plants is used by plants and animals as a
source of energy. To release the energy contained in the bonds of glucose, the glucose must be
converted to ATP. The process by which ATP is made from glucose is called cellular respiration.
Respiration also produces waste products including carbon dioxide and water, which are the same
substances that served as raw materials for photosynthesis. In water, carbon dioxide dissolves to
form a weak acid. As a result, an acid-base indicator such as bromthymol blue can be used to
indicate the presence of carbon dioxide. In this laboratory investigation, you will use bromthymol
blue to explore the relationship between photosynthesis and respiration.
Problem:
What is the relationship between the processes of photosynthesis and respiration?
Materials:
2 large test tubes
rubber stoppers
straws Bromthymol blue

2 Elodea sprigs

light sources

drinking

Procedure:
1. Locate the 2 test tubes and one test tube rack at your station.
2. Fill each test tube half full of water. Add several drops (~15) of bromothymol blue (BTB) to
each tube. Caution: Bromthymol blue is a dye and can stain your hands and clothing.
3. Insert one end of a drinking straw into the solution in one of the test tubes. Gently blow
through the straw. Keep blowing until there is a change in the appearance/color of the
bromthymol blue solution. Repeat this procedure with the other test tube. Record your
observations in the data table.
4. Place a sprig of Elodea into each tube. Stopper the tube.
5. Place one tube in the dark for 24 hours. Place the other tube under the lamp for the same
amount of time.
6. After 24 hours, examine each tube. Note any change in the appearance of the bromthymol
blue solution. Record your observations in the data table.

Photosynthesis Lab Student Sheet

Name: _________________________________ Date: _______________ Block:_____


Based upon your prior knowledge of photosynthesis, predict (make a hypothesis) what will happen
in the tube left in the light and the tube left in the dark.
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
Experimental Data:
Color of Bromothymol blue in flasks
Before breathing
After breathing
w/Elodea after light
w/ Elodea left in dark
Analysis Questions:
1. Why did the Bromothymol blue solution change color after you blew into it?

2. Why did we use bromothymol blue in this experiment?

3. What was the purpose of placing an Elodea plant in both tubes?

4. What differences did you observe between the tube of Elodea left in the light and the tube of
Elodea left in the dark (presence/absence of bubbles, color changes)? Why did this occur?

5. Did you see any tiny bubbles coming from the plant left under the light? What gas was
produced? Why? (Briefly explain the process)

6. What is photosynthesis and how do our results demonstrate the requirements necessary for this
process to occur?
Photosynthesis Lab Student Sheet
Based upon your prior knowledge of photosynthesis, predict (make a hypothesis) what will happen
in the tube left in the light and the tube left in the dark.

Name: _________________________________ Date: _______________ Block:_____


_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
Experimental Data:
Color of Bromothymol blue in flasks
Before breathing
After breathing
w/Elodea after light
w/ Elodea left in dark
Analysis Questions:
1. Why did the Bromothymol blue solution change color after you blew into it?

2. Why did we use bromothymol blue in this experiment?

3. What was the purpose of placing an Elodea plant in both tubes?

4. What differences did you observe between the tube of Elodea left in the light and the tube of
Elodea left in the dark (presence/absence of bubbles, color changes)? Why did this occur?

5. Did you see any tiny bubbles coming from the plant left under the light? What gas was
produced? Why? (Briefly explain the process)

6. What is photosynthesis and how do our results demonstrate the requirements necessary for this
process to occur?