Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Fall is here, which means it’s time for leaves to start changing color! Since we are private schools in Orlando, FL, we don’t see many orange and yellow leaves. However, this is still the image many children associate with the season. If your child has ever asked you why leaves change color, why not show them with a fun and easy science experiment?

Talk with your child about how leaves hold a green pigment called chlorophyll, which gives them their bright green color. When the chlorophyll is removed, other colors show through!

First, go outside and gather three leaves from one tree. Have your child break the leaves into pieces and stick them in a jar. Then take some rubbing alcohol and pour just enough into the jar to fully cover the leaves. This where the fun begins — your child can mash and stir the leaves until the rubbing alcohol becomes tinted green. This step is important, so have fun with it!

Next, cover the jar with plastic wrap, and put the jar in a heat-resistant or microwavable bowl. Pour hot water into the bowl, and let it sit for a while, swishing the jar occasionally to stir the mixture. If you want to see results quickly, you can let it sit for 30 minutes, but you’ll get better results if you wait an hour. Either way, make sure that the rubbing alcohol is a dark green color before you move on to the next step.

Cut off a strip of a coffee filter, and put it in the jar so that one end reaches the rubbing alcohol. The filter will absorb the alcohol, which will then evaporate. Leave the filter alone for an hour, and then come back to check on the leaves. You’ll find that once you’ve removed the green, the classic fall colors will appear!

For more than 50 years, private schools in Orlando, FL have been helping children grow to their fullest potential and become leaders within their communities. We offer unique and dynamic learning environments that engage students and encourage them to become confident, responsible adults. To learn more about what makes us different, contact us today.