Adaptations of the Calvin Cycle in Arid and Semi-Arid Plants Project

Click on the diagram below to view the podcast of this lesson. 

Lesson Objective:  Students will apply their knowledge of the Calvin cycle to explain how semi-arid and arid plants adapt under their respective environmental conditions.

Tasks:  Follow the steps below.

The three types of photosynthesis are C3, C4, and CAM.  C4 and CAM photosynthesis are both adaptations to arid conditions because they result in better water use efficiency.   In addition, CAM plants can "idle", saving precious energy and water during harsh times, and C4 plants can photosynthesize faster under the desert's high heat and and light conditions than C3 plants because they use an extra biochemical pathway and special anatomy to reduce losses.  Let's investigate further into how these different plants alter the dark reactions to adapt to living in the harsher climates.

c3c4cam pict

c3c4cam pathways

1.  Resources: 
a.  Both pictures above are linked to separate websites dedicated to understanding the various Calvin cycles that exist in plants. 
b.  Click here to take you to another online website discussing C4 and CAM plants.  If you do not have flash, this may not open.

3.  Click here to download the project assignment.  You can fill in your answers on this word document. 

4.  With step 1 and the video, you should have more than enough resources to learn about these three types of plants.  If you need more, feel free to research C3, C4 and CAM plants on the internet.  Now, complete the three questions in this project.  Submit to teacher using gmail (  Thanks!

5.  Student exemplar:  click here.