Photosynthesis PBL

Here is the latest PBL that I assigned to my students. We have yet to start Photosynthesis in class so I handed this out to let them start brainstorming over the weekend. They will be able to work with one other person on this project. When I assign PBL activities, that is the only homework that they give. Truthfully, I don’t give much homework in Bio anyway…I don’t think it’s a useful tool for this class unless they are studying for an assessment. They have such little time as it is, I don’t want to take any more unless they are going to get a lot out of it. Let me know what you think and how it turns out if you adapt this for your classes.

Photosynthesis PBL – Alternative Energy Resource For Residential Establishments

There are many people in this country who live “off the grid”. “Off the grid” living is becoming a popular choice for people looking to reduce their carbon footprint, assert their independence, and avoid reliance on and abuse of fossil fuel usage. “The Grid” refers to the power grid, which is a system that delivers electricity directly to your house from the source. Power is supplied to homes in the form of electricity, natural gas, water, and telephone lines.

One-way to off-set power needs is to use solar power and convert that into energy. Solar panels are becoming a popular means to capture light and turning it into usable energy through photovoltaics. The problem with photovoltaics is that you cannot store the energy for long periods of time and the batteries used to temporarily store the excess energy are expensive and inefficient. Not to mention that if there are long periods of time without exposure to sunlight, your energy stores will become depleted.

Your company has come up with a solution to Photovoltaics. You are tasked with designing a structure that will recycle the excess CO2 in homes and turn that CO2 usable energy for the home. This structure will function much like a chloroplast in that it will take CO2 and H20 and repurpose those materials into usable energy that can be continuously supplied to the home for power.

Your proposal (< 2 pages, including figures) must include a description of the following:

(1) The structures used and how they correlate with structures within a chloroplast

(2) Diagrams and figures that will show relationship between energy recourses used before implementation of this device and after implementation

(3) A descriptive paper explaining the process, in detail, of how the structure works

(4) A physical model of said structure

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