Education Technology

One Giant Leaf for Mankind

Published on 09/09/2016

Activity Overview

One Giant Leaf for Mankind is a project-based STEM activity that explores photosynthesis and will engage your students in the engineering design process while using TI-Nspire™ technology. and the TI-Innovator™ Hub.


Students will research science topics including:

  • Energy and material flow in photosynthesis
  • Cellular organelles in plants
  • The effects of light brightness and plant surface area have on plant energy production.


  • Chloroplast and Mitochondria
  • Photosynthesis
  • Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen, Water, Sugar and Energy
  • Light intensity (lux)
  • Light sensor

About the Lesson

Your students are asked to play the role of a horticultural engineer on the International Space Station (ISS) who has been researching food production for extended space exploration missions. Students will design and build a space-based greenhouse model in order to conduct a simple experiment using the scientific method while learning about photosynthesis and plant cell structure.

As a result, students will: 

  • Use the model to investigate how the plant surface area and light brightness affect how fast energy (stored in yams) is produced.
  • Will use mathematical processes of:
    • Area of a rectangle
    • Slope of a line
    • Interpreting graphs
    • Proportional reasoning