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Table 5.
A summary of the simulation procedure for photosynthesis. Equations for students and specific action instructions are included for all four steps.
Equation for chemical changes in each modeling step (present to students)Specific actions that students complete in each step
Step 1: Photosynthesis Light reactions — Matter 
12 H2O → 6 O2 + 12 H atoms (containing 2e each) + 12 H+ Oxidize 12 H2O to form O2 and release 12 H and 12 H+ 
Place released O2 to the side to be released from cell 
Place released 12 H and 12 H+ to the side 
Note: Instructor ask students to identify where the hydrogen atoms and their electrons should be transferred. The correct answer is the electron carriers
12 NADP+ + 12 H (2e each) → 12 NADPH Use 12 H released from water to reduce NADP to produce NADPH 
Step 2: Photosynthesis Light reactions — Energy 
20 ADP + Pi → 20 ATP Add 20 ATP, transfer 10 energy stickers from package to ATP 
12 NADP+ + 12 H (2e each) → 12 NADPH Transfer 24 energy stickers from package to NADPH 
Note: Since the energy source is the sun, students use stickers directly from the package for this step. It is helpful to leave stickers in large groups affixed to reinforced backing to reduce time and allow for re-use in multiple sections
Step 3: Photosynthesis Calvin cycle — Matter 
12 NADPH → 12 NADP+ + 12 H (2e each) + 12 H+ Oxidize 12 NADPH to release 12 H+ and 12 H and set to the side 
Release 24 energy stickers from NADPH and save for next step 
Note: Instructor asks students to identify where the hydrogen atoms and their electrons should be transferred. The correct answer is the G3P molecules
6 CO2 + 12 H (2e each) + 12 H+ → 2 G3P (3 C, 3 O, and 6 H each) + 6 H2Reduce 6 CO2 with 12 H+ and 12 H released from NADPH to generate 2 G3P 
Step 4: Photosynthesis Calvin cycle — Energy 
12 NADPH → 12 NADP+ + 12 H (2e each) + 12 H+ Transfer saved 24 energy stickers to 2 G3P molecules 
20 ATP → 20 ADP + Pi Transfer 10 energy stickers from ATP to 2 G3P molecules, remove ATP 
Final Step: Photosynthesis 
2 G3P → Glucose Convert 2 G3P to generate 1 glucose molecule 
Transfer 6 additional energy stickers from the package, since the source is undefined. 
Note: This glucose molecule (with 40 associated energy stickers) will serve as fuel for cellular respiration in the organism. At this point, the simulation can be suspended until the next class period
Equation for chemical changes in each modeling step (present to students)Specific actions that students complete in each step
Step 1: Photosynthesis Light reactions — Matter 
12 H2O → 6 O2 + 12 H atoms (containing 2e each) + 12 H+ Oxidize 12 H2O to form O2 and release 12 H and 12 H+ 
Place released O2 to the side to be released from cell 
Place released 12 H and 12 H+ to the side 
Note: Instructor ask students to identify where the hydrogen atoms and their electrons should be transferred. The correct answer is the electron carriers
12 NADP+ + 12 H (2e each) → 12 NADPH Use 12 H released from water to reduce NADP to produce NADPH 
Step 2: Photosynthesis Light reactions — Energy 
20 ADP + Pi → 20 ATP Add 20 ATP, transfer 10 energy stickers from package to ATP 
12 NADP+ + 12 H (2e each) → 12 NADPH Transfer 24 energy stickers from package to NADPH 
Note: Since the energy source is the sun, students use stickers directly from the package for this step. It is helpful to leave stickers in large groups affixed to reinforced backing to reduce time and allow for re-use in multiple sections
Step 3: Photosynthesis Calvin cycle — Matter 
12 NADPH → 12 NADP+ + 12 H (2e each) + 12 H+ Oxidize 12 NADPH to release 12 H+ and 12 H and set to the side 
Release 24 energy stickers from NADPH and save for next step 
Note: Instructor asks students to identify where the hydrogen atoms and their electrons should be transferred. The correct answer is the G3P molecules
6 CO2 + 12 H (2e each) + 12 H+ → 2 G3P (3 C, 3 O, and 6 H each) + 6 H2Reduce 6 CO2 with 12 H+ and 12 H released from NADPH to generate 2 G3P 
Step 4: Photosynthesis Calvin cycle — Energy 
12 NADPH → 12 NADP+ + 12 H (2e each) + 12 H+ Transfer saved 24 energy stickers to 2 G3P molecules 
20 ATP → 20 ADP + Pi Transfer 10 energy stickers from ATP to 2 G3P molecules, remove ATP 
Final Step: Photosynthesis 
2 G3P → Glucose Convert 2 G3P to generate 1 glucose molecule 
Transfer 6 additional energy stickers from the package, since the source is undefined. 
Note: This glucose molecule (with 40 associated energy stickers) will serve as fuel for cellular respiration in the organism. At this point, the simulation can be suspended until the next class period
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