Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • 5 to 10 students
  • Up to 3 lecture units
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English, German

Resource Description

Instruction file

Additional attachments

Acting out Photosynthesis as a Ball Game(Resource ID: 151)

By acting out photosynthesis as a ball game, the energy and material flows of photosynthesis are made apparent. Balls or fruits of various sizes and colors represent the atoms and molecules that the participants, according to the basic equation of photosynthesis, gather or “absorb,” separate, and piece together again in new connections. Emphasis is placed on conveying the stoichiometric relations correctly, thereby increasing the actability of the exercise. The participants portray the sun as the energy source and various biochemically active substances. They cooperate according to the biochemistry of photosynthesis. The activity shows that due to the sun’s energy, oxygen is released from water and hydrogen is transferred to carbon dioxide through which carbohydrates are formed. This scene depicts how plants produce oxygen in the atmosphere and how stored solar energy serves as nutrition in the biomass of plants, animals and humans.

By acting photosynthesis out as a ball game, biochemical processes are presented in an easy-to-understand manor using people and acting materials. The transfer, separation, and joining of the balls or fruits makes substance flows more tangible and understandable. The rules of the game are defined by the biochemical background and so convey knowledge of chemistry.

A ball game with movement is a fun and unique way of conveying knowledge.


  • Purchase of necessary materials
  • Balls can be borrowed at BOKU or obtained through the author

Supplied material

  • Rope or bicycle elastic straps of equal length
  • 2-5 kg corn or 2 kg spiral noodles (Fusilli)
  • Balls with Velcro: oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide

Description of application during the course

  • The acting exercise can be used in all lectures in which photosynthesis, carbon cycles, oxygen cycles, or the sun’s energy as universal energy source are central topics.
  • The scene can be acted without knowing more than the basic equation: the theoretical background of the „rules of the game“ can also be explained to help increase understanding of the biochemistry of photosynthesis.

Aha effect for students

  • Life can not exist without the sun
  • Life on Earth is a material and energy flow
  • Without plants there would not exist oxygen

This building block can be combined with the building block Acting Out Cellular Respiration as a Ball Game.

Learning Outcomes
- To recognize that the sun as the source of vitality of nearly all living organisms;
- To grasp and explain the carbon cycle;
- To grasp and explain the oxygen cycle.
Relevance for Sustainability
- The sun is the most important energy source.
- Photosynthesis delivers oxygen and biomass and therefore the destruction of the Earth’s large forest areas leads to a severe disturbance of the ecological balance.
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Preparation Efforts
Funded by
Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research within the framework of the call "Projekt MINT-Massenfächer" (2011/12)

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Dipl. Ing. Konrad Kaufmann


Konrad Kaufmann
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna


Creative Commons

Teaching Tools & Methods

  • Game
  • Simulation program
  • Simulation