Activity 2.3
Mission carbon capture – how does it work?

All plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, mainly through their leaves – as part of their food-making process – photosynthesis. Trees are our largest plants and therefore remove far more than other plants. In fact – forests store 86% of the planet’s carbon, outside the oceans and Earth’s core.

This activity sets out to explore how leaves go about their most important mission in life – carbon capture, finding out the key players and processes.

Learners will have/be able to:

  • Describe the role of leaves as the food factories of trees, and one way of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
  • Describe the different steps involved in the process of fixing carbon in plants, mentioning key materials and gases
  • Explain why plants are the source of energy for most living things, and are important in reducing the impacts of climate change
  • Participated in a dramatisation of the process of photosynthesis
  • Recognised how re–enacting the process of photosynthesis helps understanding how it works.


  • Rope 5+ metres long
    Or model 3D leaf
  • Storage box
    Made from natural material if possible – IKEA type
  • Chloroplasts
    The leaf’s food factory – green circles made from plastic/shade netting – approx. 50cm diameter – 1 per pair e.g. class of 36 = 18
  • Carbon dioxide /sugar molecules
    Circles made from white card – laminated – 3 sets per half class e.g. (18×3) 54
  • Water/oxygen molecules
    Circles made from blue card – laminated – 1 set per half class – e.g. 18
  • Sun
    1 – stylised made from yellow card – laminated

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