Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Autumn Leaf Experiment-Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?

This is a great chance to use phenomena to start a science lesson.  Show them a photo...and ask Why do leaves change color in the fall?

Ask them to generate other questions about fall colors:

Why do some locations get more vivid colors than others?
Why do some trees do this an others do not?
Why do leaves fall from the tree?
Why are some years in the same location different in the amount of fall colors from other years?

To start with answering these questions I would begin with a great inquiry based science lesson.

Pick some leaves that are still green from a deciduous tree, like a maple or aspen that will turn colors in the fall.

Next tear the leaves up into bits and grind a few agains something to really mush them up.  Place in glass jar and cover with rubbing alcohol.

Cover with foil and place the jar in a cup of hot water.

Next attach some paper towel strips to a pencil or stick with a piece of tape.

Place the end inside the jar and observe.

You will see greens and other shades of greens and even some yellows and oranges.

The next thing I do is have students read some nonfiction text or watch a presentation to find out more about the scientific process.  

I have them write up their experiment results and understanding in their interactive notebook. I also have them place some leaves in the interactive notebook.  Securing them down with clear packing tape helps them keep their color.

The full lesson including the nonfiction article, the interactive notebook folds, the slide show and the scientific explanation is available in my store.

Thank you for reading this post.