Active transport teaching resources

Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about active transport (GCSE and Key Stage 3)

Overview: active transport is the movement of particles (molecules/ions) across a membrane from a more dilute solution to a more concentrated solution, against a concentration gradient. Unlike diffusion and osmosis, active transport is an active process and requires energy from respiration as well as carrier proteins in the membrane to carry the particles across. Cells that carry out active transport have a large number of mitochondria. 

Key concept: energy from respiration is required for a cell to transport particles against a concentration gradient across a membrane.

Prior knowledge: respiration, diffusion, ions, root structure, cell structure  


Teaching resources

GCSE activity on active transport in waterlogged soil. Students think through the problem of why plants grown in waterlogged soil show nitrogen deficiency. They apply their knowledge to figure out that water displaces oxygen from the soil. As such, aerobic respiration cannot take place, which means no ATP is available for active transport. This problem also links to the concepts of leaching and denitrification. This is a great thinking problem as it links together many important concepts in biology. (PDF)

  1. Active transport
  2. Diffusion 
  3. Osmosis
  4. Surface area to volume ratio
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