Fall is a beautiful Time of year with all the leaves are changing colors. Children wonder why it occurs, so it is an excellent chance to utilize the power of science to show them the individual foliage colors and also to explain how the leaves really change colors.

Everything you need:

  • Leaves that have changed color
  • Little jar baby food jars are the best
  • Lid for the jar aluminum foil or plastic wrap if you do not have a lid
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paper coffee filter
  • Hot water
  • Plastic knife or spoon

What you do:

Adult supervision is required for this action. Please read all instructions completely before beginning. Observe all safety precautions.

  1. Collect two or three quite large leaves. Tear or chop them up and put them into a jar.
  2. Add rubbing alcohol to the jar so you completely cover the chopped leaves up. Use the plastic spoon or knife to grind the leaves to the alcohol and split them up. Rubbing alcohol can be harmful if mishandled or misused. Please read and adhere to all warnings about the rubbing alcohol bottle.
  3. Loosely cover the jar with the lid aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Fill the skillet with about an inch of warm water and carefully put the jar to the pan. Gently swirl the jar every five minutes and then replace the hot water as it cools off.
  4. Leave the jar in the water for at least half an hour or until the alcohol becomes colored.
  5. While you are waiting, cut a long strip of coffee filter paper and what is hplc. When the jar is ready, remove it from the water and find it. Set the strip of coffee filter paper into the jar so that one end is at the alcohol and the other end is outside the jar. Secure the dry finish with a piece of tape to the surface of the jar.
  6. The colored alcohol will travel up the newspaper. If you leave the newspaper in the alcohol for around 90 minutes or so, every color of chlorophyll as well as other color substances will travel a different distance up the newspaper as the alcohol evaporates. You need to be able to see various colors of yellow, green, orange, red, etc, based on the color and variety of leaves you are using.
  7. Remove the strip of Paper and allow it to dry by taping it to a plain piece of paper.

Why the Leaves Change Color

During summer, the Leaves of trees are factories producing sugar from carbon dioxide and water by the action of light on chlorophyll. Chlorophyll causes the leaves to appear green. Water and nutrients flow from the roots, through the branches, and in the leaves. The sugars produced by photosynthesis flow from the leaves to other areas of the tree, where some of the chemical energy is used for growth and some is saved.