As a high school or undergraduate Biological Sciences teacher, you can use this set of computer-based tools to help you in teaching photosynthesis, factors affecting photosynthesis, and the impact of increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 and some climate-related factors on photosynthesis.

This lesson plan enables students to understand the process of photosynthesis in plants and the various factors that influence it. Students will explore how changes in climate related factors such as CO2 levels, temperature, water availability can influence photosynthesis, thereby impacting plant growth and agricultural yields. A hands-on lab activity will enable students to assess the change in the rate of photosynthesis when CO2 concentration changes.

Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in the Biological Sciences.


Use this lesson plan to help your students find answers to:

  1. What is photosynthesis?
  2. What are the key differences between C3, C4, and CAM plants?
  3. How do plants respond to climate change?
  4. Discuss the impact of increasing global CO2 levels on photosynthesis.
  5. Is global food security at risk due to climate change? Explain.

This is a Teacher-submitted Lesson Plan.

Teacher-submitted lesson plan, Contributed by: Dr. Aditi Kothari-Chhajer and Dr. Neeti Mehla, Department of Botany, Sri Venkateswara College (University of Delhi), Delhi.

Want to know more about how to contribute? Contact us.

About Lesson Plan

Grade Level High School, Undergraduate
Discipline Biological Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline
  • Photosynthesis in Plants,
  • Factors affecting Photosynthesis,
  • C3 Plants, C4 Plants,
  • CAM Plants, Calvin Cycle
Climate Topic
  • Climate and the Biosphere
Location Global
Language(s) English
Access Online, offline use
Time Required
100-120 min


Micro-lecture (video) (~12 min) A micro-lecture (video) that introduces the topic of photosynthesis
Click here for the video:
 Micro-lecture (video) (~7.5 min) A micro-lecture to learn about how plants have evolved to respond differently to changing climatic conditions.
Click here for the video:
Reading (~20 min) A reading to discuss the difference in the responses of C3 and C4 plants to rising levels of atmospheric CO2

Click here for the Reading:

Classroom/Laboratory activity (~60 min) A classroom/laboratory activity to measure the rate at which photosynthesis occurs and note changes under variable conditions such as elevated carbon dioxide levels, a potential contributor to climate change

Click here for the activity:

Here is a step-by-step guide to using this lesson plan in the classroom/laboratory. We have suggested these steps as a possible plan of action. You may customize the lesson plan according to your preferences and requirements.
1 Introduce the topic by playing a micro-lecture (video)
  • • Introduce the topic by playing the video micro-lecture, “Photosynthesis” from bozemanscience.
  • • This video explains the process of photosynthesis, chloroplasts and photoreceptors, the light reaction and the Calvin cycle, and an overview of C3, C4, and CAM plants.
The video can be accessed at
2 Discuss the topic further by playing a video micro-lecture
  • • Play the video micro-lecture, “Plant Response to Climate Change” by Prof. Raghu Murtugudde (content developed at Science Media Centre, IISER Pune), to explain that C3 and C4 type plants evolved differently as a response to changes in temperature and CO2 levels.
  • • This micro-lecture explains the possible influence of CO2 levels and climate change on the growth of plants and consequently on vegetation and crop productivity.
The video micro-lecture is accessible at
3 Reading
  • • Use the reading “Effects of Rising Atmospheric Concentrations of Carbon Dioxide on Plants” from Nature Education to discuss the effects of elevated CO2 levels on the photosynthetic efficiency of field-grown plants.
  • • This reading states that plant physiology and biochemical compositions change in response to high CO2 availability. Secondary effects like changes in stomatal conductance affect efficiency of carbon fixation and water uptake in plants. Thus, differences in the responses of C3 and C4 plants under these conditions are noted.
The reading is available at
4 Classroom/Laboratory Activity
  •  • Explore, measure, and determine the rate at which photosynthesis occurs through a classroom/laboratory activity, “Designing an experiment to test the rate of photosynthesis” from the Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project.
  • • This lab activity will allow students to test the rate of photosynthesis under variable environmental conditions like light intensity, temperature, carbon dioxide levels.
  • • In this lab activity, students can test the effect of elevated
The classroom/laboratory activity can be accessed at