Today we did a skit in class as an overview of the light reactions of photosynthesis. Here’s basically how it worked:
I had several students stand around one lab table, wearing name tags such as chlorophyll (there were a few of these), xanthophyll, and chlorophyll a. Each had a small plastic ball (like a ping pong ball, but any small spherical object would do). One person stood at the next lab table wearing a nametag labeled “Light”. They were told to shine the light (flashlight) on one of the chlorophyll molecules. The person who was hit by the light then had to raise their “electron” and jump around very excitedly (“excited” electrons). They bumped into the chlorophyll next to them, getting them excited, and then that student bumped into the next one…and so on until the last one excited was chlorophyll a.
Then we had a villain (the primary electron acceptor) come and forcibly steal the electron away from chlorophyll a. This, of course, made chlorophyll a very sad. But luckily, our hero (water) came quickly to the rescue, giving up an electron to chlorophyll a (who became happy again). This, of course, meant that water “died” and flew off as an oxygen “angel” (they flipped their nametag over, changing it from H2O to O2).
Meanwhile, the villain had given the electron it stole to an electron carrier (standing in a straight line along the wall with the following students), who passed it on to the next electron carrier, and the next, until eventually NADP+ got it (flipping their nametag over to NADPH) and walked off into the distance to become part of the Calvin cycle. One student in this same line also represented ATP Synthase; they flipped over the nametag of the person standing next to them from ADP to ATP, and this person also went off with NADPH to be used in the Calvin cycle.
Phew! Of course, I had to talk through it a few times until they could do it on their own, but we had a lot of fun.