It’s that time of year... the leaves are changing color and many of them have already left the trees for the ground. If you have lots of trees in your yard, you and your family have probably already raked leaves into big piles! Why exactly DO leaves fall off the trees anyway? We actually started to learn about this in September! If you missed our blog on why leaves change color, check it out here:
Today, you are going to experiment with different ways to preserve leaves, but before we do that, you need to learn a little bit about why leaves change colors and fall off the trees in the first place. Check out the two links below to learn more about why leaves change color in the fall.
- How do plants eat?
- What makes leaves green?
- What happens when the chlorophyll starts to disappear?
- How do you know when a leaf is dead?
Now that you know a little bit about why leaves change with the seasons, let’s get preserving! You are going to experiment with different ways to preserve leaves using clear tape, PVA glue, and clear nail polish. What other preserving techniques can you think of? Before we get started, try to find two more materials that you think might help preserve the quality of your leaf.
YOU WILL NEED:
- 6 leaves of the same tree
- Clear tape
- PVA glue
- Clear nail polish
- Paper and writing utensil
- Go outside and select your leaves. The six leaves should be from the same tree so you know they all react to preservation techniques the same way, and you should make sure that they are all still alive, soft, and moist. If the leaf is dry and crackling already, you will have a tough time preserving it.
- Now that you have your materials, lay out your six leaves. Make a small label for each leaf that tells you which preservation technique you will use.
- Next, create a chart to record your observations. It might look like the one below.
5. Once leaves 2-6 are coated with their preservation materials, you must wait! Place the leaves with their labels on a surface where they won’t be disturbed, and check back each day for five days to record your observations.
6. When you check on your leaves, record your observations in your chart. What do they look like? Feel like? What techniques seem to be working? Which ones are not working as well?
7. On day five, make your final observations. Rank the preservation techniques in order from best to worst.
Now that you know which technique works the best, go out and find more leaves to preserve! You can do all sorts of activities with your preserved leaves. Make a leaf book, leaf people, or leaf art!
Google leaf people, leaf projects, or leaf art for all kinds of fun ideas!
If you want to check out another fun leaf experiment, check out our blog on leaf chromatography:
Image and Video Credits, in order of appearance:
KentuckyKevin, 2014. Fiery autumn color 11-7-2014. Image uploaded from Wikimedia Commons on 10/14/2016.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/Fiery_Autumn_Color_11-7-2014.JPG File used in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. No changes were made.