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WHY DO LEAVES CHANGE COLOR IN AUTUMN?

Across much of North America the beautiful colors of fall can be enjoyed by many, but why do the leaves change colors? In preparation for winter dormancy, trees break down the chlorophyll and withdraw it from their leaves, allowing other pigments to be observed. Carotenoids and flavonoids are responsible for the shades of yellows and oranges. While the brilliant red and purple colors of some species result from secondary reactions that form anthocyanins. Have fun exploring the science behind leaves with these fun activities!

360Science: Design a Natural pH Indicator
Students are challenged to extract pigments from natural resources to create and test pH indicators.

Leaf Identification Kits
Studies include classifying objects, identifying leaves using a simple key, creating leaf art and exploring leaf morphology and adaptation.

Plants in the Spotlight – A Photosynthesis Investigation
Illuminate understandings of photosynthesis, the process of “putting together with light.”

Fall Foliage
Illustrate that leaves contain multiple photosynthetic pigments.

Leaf Patterns
Most photosynthesis in land plants occurs in their leaves. Does the architecture of the leaf affect the photosynthetic efficiency of the leaf?

Photosynthesis Study Technique
The disk assay method outlined here can be easily incorporated into open-ended, studentdesigned investigations.