Enjoy the weather, take a walk and do an experiment! Not only can you observe the beautiful Fall leaves, but you can actually see the pigments that make the leaves their colors.
By using a DIY chromatography technique, which is a laboratory technique for the separation of a mixture, you can examine the colors of leaves by extracting them. Colors found in leaves are created by following chemicals: green is from chlorophyll, yellow is from flavonoids, orange is from carotenoids, and red is from anthocyanins. See what chemicals you can find in the leaves you collect.
What To Do:
Go on a nature walk and collect leaves varying in color from yellow, red and green.
Remove the stems, cut or break the leaves into small pieces and place leaves of the same colors in a jar.
Pour rubbing alcohol over the crushed leaves until covered.
Cut a paper towel into strips. Dip the strip into the mixture, leaving enough towel to hang over the top of the jar.
Let the jars sit in a quiet place for 1-2 days. When the towel is dry, remove it.
Discuss your findings.
What You’ll Need:
- Glass jars or glasses
- Leaves of various colors
- Paper towel strips
- Rubbing alcohol
Try to find the brightest leaves in various colors. If you can’t find leaves in varying colors, find leaves in varying shades of green.•