Energy, Matter, and Organization: Cellular Respiration – Day 1

Today we began learning about how one of the major cellular organelles, the mitochondria, are able to convert glucose into ATP through the process of cellular respiration.  We began with a partner share activity, where students discussed their response to the second video segment from Friday with their table partner.  One partner wrote a summary of their partner’s response, and then the partners switched.  We shared out as a class, discussing the effect of lowering body temperature on catastrophic health events (like heart attacks).  We then transitioned to a study of mitochondria, with students sharing what they know about the organelle.  We learned the chemical formula for cellular respiration (which occurs in the mitochondria found in both plant and animal cells) by reviewing the process of photosynthesis (which occurs in plant cell chloroplasts).  Most students are able to reconstruct the formula for photosynthesis by remembering the key ingredients for plant life:

CO2 + H2O + energy (sunlight) → C6H12O6 (glucose) + O2

Cellular respiration is essentially the reverse of photosynthesis:

C6H12O6 (glucose) + O2 → CO2 + H2O + energy (ATP)

The attached slide deck provides a few additional slides (not presented in class).  We connected the idea of cellular respiration back to the second video segment from last Friday to explain why lowering body temperature results in improved health outcomes.  Finally, students modeled the process of converting one molecule of glucose to 36 molecules of ATP.   The used the molecular structures worksheet along with the instructions to work through part of the activity.  We will complete the modeling activity tomorrow and students will write a summary of the process of cellular respiration.