The premier destination for fun science projects & experiments for kids grades K-8 since 2010!

'FALL'ING LEAVES

Use chromatography to predict the ‘fall’ colour of a green leaf tree

Suitable For

Grade 7

Difficulty

2

Time Required

 <2 Days

Supervision

Advised

What’s it about?

In a process called ‘chromatography’, scientists can separate the individual parts of a mixture so that each one can be identified separately. In the following science experiment, use ‘chromatography’ to analyse which other ‘pigments’ are present in green leafs, to try and predict what colour the leaves will turn in the fall:

Topics covered

Pigment, Chromatography, Capillary action

What will I need?

  • GREEN TREE LEAVES
  • COFFEE FILTERS
  • SCISSORS
  • 3x SMALL GLASS JARS
  • 3x PENCILS
  • RUBBING ALCOHOL
  • RULER

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

In this science experiment you can predict the colour that green leaves will turn in the fall by separating all the colour pigments contained in a green leaf, in a process called ‘chromatography’. During ‘chromatography’, the rubbing alcohol (solvent) moves up the paper by capillary action, this occurs as a result of the attraction of the alcohol molecules to the paper. As the alcohol rises through the paper, it meets and dissolves the pigment, which will then travel up the paper with the alcohol solute sample. Different compounds in the sample mixture (the pigment) travel at different rates due to competition between the paper fibres and water for the solutes.

The pigments found in leaves are used in a plant’s food making process, called ‘photosynthesis’. Different colour pigments absorb different wavelengths of light to make this process more efficient for the plant. The main pigments are ‘Chlorophyll A’ and ‘Chlorophyll B’, which causes the green colour of a leaf. Other pigments you may see are: yellow pigments (xanthophylls – Birch & Ash trees), orange pigments (carotenes – Maple trees) or Brown / Red pigment (anthocyanins – White oaks).

Like the sound of it?

Why not check out the full worksheet in one of our popular e-books?

This particular science project can be found in any of the following Experiland e-books:

Experiland e-books contain detailed steps, including illustrations, to complete the science projects from start to finish.

Science project ebooks for kids

Experiland's science e-books contain a diverse range of several hundred of exciting science projects, ideas and experiments.

A project introduction and background, complete listing of required materials, step-by-step instructions on how to carry out the project, why it works, learn more section, as well as a science glossary with all the relevant terms make up each of the all-inclusive science project worksheets in our e-books!

Get your e-Book!