Why Do Leaves Change Colors: FREE printable Science Experiment

November 11, 2014

Why Do Leaves Change Color: FREE printable science experiment from waddleeahchaa.com

Week at a Glance:

  • FREE printable science experiment: Why Do Leaves Change Colors?
  • step-by-step directions with photos
  • fall and leaf books for kids

Why Do Leaves Change Colors?

Free printable Science Experiment

 

Why Do Leaves Change Color: FREE printable science experiment from waddleeahchaa.com

Supplies:

  • several leaves from 3-4 different trees, shrubs or plants
  • small glasses or jars
  • paper coffee filters
  • rubbing alcohol (requires adult supervision)
  • scissors
  • masking tape
  • marker
  • plastic spoon

 

Why Do Leaves Change Color: FREE printable science experiment from waddleeahchaa.com

Step 1: Cut Leaves into Small Pieces

  • Carefully cut leaves from one tree into small pieces.
  • Place the leaf pieces in a jar and label.
  • Repeat for each leaf type collect.

 

Why Do Leaves Change Color: FREE printable science experiment from waddleeahchaa.com

Step 2: Cover Leaf Pieces with Rubbing Alcohol

  • Requires adult supervision.

 

Why Do Leaves Change Color: FREE printable science experiment from waddleeahchaa.com

 

Step 3: Mash Leaves with Spoon

  • Mash leaves with a spoon or a muddler. You may see the alcohol slowly begin to change color.
  • This step takes a bit of work to see the color pigment release from the leaves.

 

Why Do Leaves Change Color: FREE printable science experiment from waddleeahchaa.com

Step 4: Place Jars in Hot Water or Let Sit Overnight

  • Cover the jars and place in hot water for at least 30 minutes.
  • Or let the jars sit overnight.
  • You can muddle the leaves again after they soak in order to release more color.

 

Why Do Leaves Change Color: FREE printable science experiment from waddleeahchaa.com

 Step 5: Cut Coffee Filters into Strips

 

Why Do Leaves Change Color: FREE printable science experiment from waddleeahchaa.com

Step 6: Soak Filter Strips in Leaf Mixture

  • Place the end of one coffee filter in each jar.
  • Soak at least 8 hours or overnight.

 

Why Do Leaves Change Color: FREE printable science experiment from waddleeahchaa.com

 Step 7: Remove the Filter Strips

  • Lay the coffee filters on a piece of paper or paper towel to dry.
  • The different pigments such as green, red, orange and yellow will separate and tick to the coffee filters.
  • The pigments may travel up the coffee filters making band of colors.

 

Why Do Leaves Change Color: FREE printable science experiment from waddleeahchaa.com

Science Journal Entry, Why Do Leaves Change Colors, page 1

MacGyver, age 11

Step 8: Record Your Findings

Helpful Facts -

  • Why do trees grow leaves? Trees grow leaves to conduct photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, the celsl in leaves turn sunlight into the sugars and starches trees need for food.
  • Why are leaves green? Chlorophyll is a pigment that gives leaves their green color. All trees have chlorophyll because they need it to soak in sunlight for photosynthesis.
  • Why do leaves fall? If leaves didn’t fall, they would freeze during the winter because they contain water.
  • How do leaves fall? To shed its leaves, a tree will form barriers of cells between its branches and the stems of the leaves. These barriers keep water and other nutrients from entering the leaves, so chlorophyll production stops.
  • What happens to the leaves when mixed with rubbing alcohol? Chromatography is the process of separating different chemical compounds. The alcohol allowed the chlorophyll in the leaves to break down, mimicking how chlorophyll production in leaves stops during the fall.  The process reveasl other pigments in the leaves that are usually hidden.
  • We adapted our leaf experiment from Connections Academy.

 

Why Do Leaves Change Color: FREE printable science experiment from waddleeahchaa.com

 Print this FREE Science Experiment: Why Do Leaves Change Colors

 

Sharing this week at:
Mama Smiles

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Tara H November 11, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Thanks for sharing! We studied leaves a few weeks ago but I know my boys would like to do this!

Jeannine November 11, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Tara, I am behind! Wanted to post sooner . . . but such is the story of my life. (We did leaves a few weeks ago as well.) Hope you and the boys get a chance to give this experiment a try. It is pretty neat.

maryanne @ mama smiles November 14, 2014 at 1:48 am

What a cool experiment! The leaves here are still about half green, so this post is timely for my family.

Elizabeth November 14, 2014 at 9:43 am

This is way cool. Are you going to try and dye your own fabrics? I could see this making some awesome t-shirts.

Sail Away Girl

Tee October 12, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Thank you. This will be fun to do with my class.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: