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Print Plant Basics
Spanish: Nociones Básicas de las Plantas
By Sharon Fabian
1 Suppose we didn't eat our breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Could we survive? People and animals all depend on food to provide the energy they need to live. Even the smallest animal couldn't survive without food. However, there are living things that never need to eat.
2 Plants never need to eat, because they make their own food. Plants take in chemicals from the air and water, and nutrients from the soil, and perform a chemical reaction to turn them into energy and oxygen. So daisies and sunflowers and roses are not just pretty to look at, they are also hard working little energy factories.
3 Here is how it works. A plant takes water from the soil with its roots. The water travels up the plant through little tubes called xylem [zie-luhm]. The plant also takes carbon dioxide from the air through tiny openings in the leaves called stomata. Each leaf contains a green chemical, chlorophyll [klor-uh-fil], that takes energy from sunlight and combines it with the water, carbon dioxide, and nutrients from the soil. A chemical reaction in the leaf changes all of this into stored energy and oxygen. This whole process is called photosynthesis [foh-tuh-sin-thuh-sis]. The word photosynthesis means "putting together with light."
4 The stored energy feeds the plant and also provides food for the people and animals that eat the plants. This is why we get energy from the fruits and vegetables that we eat. The energy in breads, cereals, and pasta come from plants too, since they are made from grains, which grow on wheat and other plants. The energy we get from meats like pot roast and fried chicken came from plants too. After all, the cow ate grass and the chicken ate grain. Basically, we depend on plants for our energy.
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