Why do leaves change colors?

Leaves have lots of colors in them but all you see is green because they have so much green Chlorophyll.  In the winter when the leaves start to die, the Chlorophyll goes away and you can see the other colors that were always in the leaves.  These colors are called pigments.

To show you what I mean, we did a little experiment.  My dad and sister and I went out and collected 3 different types of leaves.

We put them into 3 different glass bowls.

We tore them up into tiny pieces.

Mom poured alcohol over the leaves.

Then we put all 3 bowls into a large pan and filled it with hot water.  This cooks it with energy from the alcohol and the hot water.

We covered them up and let them sit for 30 minutes.  We timed it on the microwave timer.

After 30 minutes, my mom put strips of coffee filters in them and we let them sit for over an hour.

The coffee filter paper absorbed all the mixed up color pigment and separated them.  This is called chromatography. (Crome-a-tog-ra-fy)

You can see that all sorts of yellows, greens, reds and browns were in the leaves all the time, you just couldn’t see them because of the green Chlorophyl.



1 Comment

Filed under Home School, Home Schooling, Kids, parenting, School Project

One response to “Why do leaves change colors?

  1. Thanks for sharing such a simple, hands on home experiment! It was exactly what I was looking for. Encouraging you to continue sharing – noticed your twitter account and will follow!

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