Why do fall leaves change colors?

Sep 21, 2022 | Articles, At Home Learning Tips, Mass Appeal, STEM

Why do leaves change colors in the fall?

Curious about why leaves change colors in the fall? We have a great hands-on and easy chromatography science activity for you to explore this question.

Watch the video from WWLP News Channel 22’s Mass Appeal below.


Materials Needed:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paper towels or coffee filters cut into strips 
  • Colorful fall leaves (but green leaves do cool things, too!)
  • Immersion blender or mortar and pestle
  • Glass bowl, cup, or mason jar


  • Tear up leaves in tiny pieces. Remove the stems.
  • Place leaves in a glass bowl or jar with a rim large enough to place an immersion blender in.
  • Cover the leaves with rubbing alcohol.
  • Blend (this was messy but fun for us!).
  • Place the paper towel in the leafy liquid, folding the rim over the edge to hang it without it dropping in.
  • Leave for 12-24 hours.
  • Take the paper towel strips out. Drip dry them.
  • What do you notice? What do you wonder? How might you find out more?

Thanks to this post for the inspiration

1 Comment

  1. MLH

    Excellent for those who love inquiry! Please continue to share ideas and explorations.


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