Chemical equation introduction

Chemical equation introduction

Author: Sam Youts

1. Describe what a chemical equation represents.

2. Identify the reactants and products in a chemical equation.

3. Recognize the relationship between reactants and products.

4. Describe the reactants and products of photosynthesis.

5. Identify the type of energy and organelle needed for the photosynthesis reaction to occur.

A chemical equation is a way to write down what is happening to matter during a chemical change.

The matter that is going to get changed (or is going to "react") is called the reactant.  This can be any number of atoms, molecules, or compounds, written as chemical formulas.  For our example, there will be two reactants, water and carbon dioxide.

The matter that is produced is called the product.  The product is a different chemical than the reactant, because the reactant has "chemically changed" into the product.  However, the product is made from the same atoms, but they have been rearranged into new chemicals.  For our example, there will be two products, glucose and oxygen.


water    and   carbon dioxide    yields       glucose         and       oxygen

 H2O     +           CO2              -->         C6H12O6         +             O2


In this example, there are two reactants, which are the two chemicals written before the "yields" arrow.  Yields means "produces" in chemistry. (You can sort of think of like an equals sign in math, for now.) There are also two products, which are the two chemicals written after the yields arrow. 

You would read this chemical equation like this:  "Water and carbon dioxide yields glucose and oxygen." Which means that the atoms in water and carbon dioxide are taken apart and rearranged to make glucose and oxygen.  This chemical reaction happens with the help of radiant energy from sunlight, and it occurs in the chloroplasts of plant cells.  Our example is a chemical reaction called PHOTOSYNTHESIS!



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