Lil' Himes got off of his school bus and headed for home, dragging his feet and hanging his head. He opened the front door slowly, and noticed his father reading the newspaper in the kitchen. He had taken the day off of work. Lil' Himes plopped into a chair in front of his father.
"What's wrong sport?" asked Lil' Himes' father, looking up from the paper.
"Nothing. I just have to do a huge project on photosynthesis for school tomorrow, and I don't understand it at all." replied Lil' Himes.
"Maybe I can help. I think I remember it from when I was young. I'll try to explain. All right with you?"
"Yeah!" exclaimed Lil' Himes.
"Let me see... I think I'll start with the plant. Do you know about cells?"
"Well then, every living thing is composed of very tiny organisms called cells. Inside each cell are smaller things called organelles. Got it?"
"I think so."
"One of these organelles," continued Lil' Himes' father, "is called a chloroplast. They are the key to photosynthesis. Now for photosynthesis. The plants use the energy from sunlight plus water and carbon dioxide. They get water through their roots and carbon dioxide from the air. Through a chemical process, they turn these ingredients into sugar and oxygen gas. Do you understand?"
"Yes, I think so. Chloroplasts capture sunlight and use that energy to combine water and carbon dioxide. In that reaction, the plant makes sugar and oxygen gas. Is that right?"
"Yep, you got it. Now, in case you want some extra information, respiration also occurs in a plant. Another organelle, called the mitochondria, which takes the sugar made by photosynthesis and oxygen, and makes water, carbon dioxide and energy through another chemical process."
"Aren't those the same ingredients in photosynthesis?"
"That's right! Those ingredients will then be re-used in photosynthesis. It's like a big circle. Does this help you at all?"
"Yeah, Dad! I understand it now! I can do my project and I learned something! Thanks!"
"Anytime, son." replied Lil' Himes' father as Lil' Himes ran upstairs to work of his project.