Friday, September 30, 2011

Sucking the Color Out!

I didn't 'feature' any particular book for this book club.  I did gaze into the encyclopedia and then surfed the web for some cool information on Why Leaves Change Color In The Fall?  I came upon this cool site called and pulled together some facts about Photosynthesis, Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen and Chlorophyll!
I created a "Fact Sheet" for each clubber.  It explained that leaves take carbon dioxide from the air for food.  That process is called photosynthesis.  Then the leaves produce oxygen, which is something we need to breathe.  When the days get shorter and more dry the chlorophyll goes away.  The chlorophyll makes the leaves green and helps the leaves absorb thier food.

Science Project!


Supply list: leaves
small jars (baby jars)
rubbing alcohol
paper coffee filters
shallow pan
hot tap water
plastic knife

  1. Collect 2-3 large leaves from several different trees.  Tear or chop leaves into very small pieces and put them into small jars labeled with the name or location of the tree.
  2. Add enough rubbing alcohol to each jar to cover the leaves.  Using a plastic knife or spoon, carefully chop and grind the leaves in the alcohol.
  3. Cover the jars very loosely with lids (or plastic or aluminum).  Place the jars carefully into a shallow tray containing 1 inch of hot tap water.
  4. Keep the jars in the water for at least a half hour (longer if needed) until the alcohol has become colored - the darker the better.  Twirl each jar gently about every five minutes.  Replace the hot water if it cools off.
  5. Remove jars from water and uncover.  Place a strip of filter paper into each jar so that one end is in the alcohol.  Bend the other end over the top of the jar and secure it with tape.
  6. The alcohol will travel up the paper, bringing the colors with it.  After 30-90 min (or longer), the colors will travel different distances up the paper as the alcohol evaporates.  You should be able to see different shades of green, and possibly some yellow, orange or red, depending on the type of leaf.
  7. Remove the strips of paper, let them dry and tape them to a plain paper. 
Sounds pretty cool...right!?!  Well, it should have been.  Our's didn't work, but sometimes science has it's own agenda.  The process of learning and experimenting was fun, and that's best part :]
we had the leaves, jars, alcohol, coffee filters and hot water?
I had all my "MAD Scientists" to put it all together?
Oh well...sometimes it just doesn't work!  I beg someone else to give it a try and let me know what in the world went wrong???  

Art Project!

This adventure was quite a bit more successfull :]  My mad scientists switched thier mode to creative creatures and busted out some super awesome leaf sun catchers!  Just look at these!

each leaf is nature and in art :]

8 1/2 X 11 plastic sheet 
8 1/2 X 11 colored cardstock paper (autumn colors)
template (hand drawn are my favorite) of a maple or oak leaf.
spray adhesive (I just used a cheaper kind...worked great!)
multi colored tissue paper squares (cheaper? rip small bits out from tissue you already have in your home - will still look fabulous!)

Draw or trace a large leaf onto cardstock.  Cut out, fold in 1/2 and cut out the middle of the leaf leaving about a 1 1/2  inch edge.  Use the inside cut out of the leaf as a template for tracing the leaf onto the plastic sheet.  Cut plastic sheet about 3/4 inch bigger than it's template.  Spray the plastic leaf with spray adhesive.  It will stay quite tacky for a while, so you have time to work with it.   Choose the tissue colors you want and start randomly (or in a pattern) placing them onto the plastic sheet.  When finished placing the tissue onto the plastic...spray the back of the cardstock leaf with adhesive.  Tack it to the front of the plastic and tissue leaf, matching all sides up.  Hang in a window and watch the sun shine through!

Have fun creating and learning about leaves and their changing colors!  We sure did :]

Miss Lisa

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