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Do Plants Breathe?

Debunking misconceptions related to plant energy transformations

The Science Teacher—March 2019 (Volume 86, Issue 7)

By Jennifer l. Maeng and Amanda Gonczi

“Plants do photosynthesis and animals do cellular respiration.” At some point in our science classes many of us have had this statement uttered to us by a teacher or said it to help students remember one of the key distinctions between plants and animals. In fact, research suggests many middle and high school students retain the prevalent misconception that plants transform energy through photosynthesis alone and do not engage in cellular respiration (Driver et al. 1994). Common representations of these processes and how gas exchanges between plants and animals also reinforce this misconception. 

Biology Chemistry Curriculum Life Science High School

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