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Name: Lynna B.
Status: educator
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2001-2002

Can you tell me an experiment that can be done with students ages 5 and 6 to show them why leaves change color? Or that although the leaf appears green other colors are not yet visible?

You can have them rub a leaf onto a piece of filter paper. They must rub pretty hard with a coin so a dark line appears on the paper. Have them immerse the filter paper in alcohol so that the paper is immersed, but the color is above the alcohol line (otherwise the color will leach into the alcohol). As the alcohol is sucked up into the paper, it will carry the pigment with it. The different pigments will separate according to their mass. They will see that even though the leaf appears green, there are other colors there also, usually two types of yellow pigments. You can also repeat this later after the leaves have changed color to show that the green pigments are gone but the other ones are still there.

Van Hoeck

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