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Environment:

Autumn Leaf Banner

 

 

Today's Snack: Into a clear glass or plastic cup, make several layers of bite-sized fruit: start with green grapes on the bottom, followed by a layer of yellow pear chunks, then cut-up orange sections or mandarin oranges, and top with vanilla wafers, cut in half. That's kind of, sort of, the stages of color that some leaves go through! Wash it down with a glass of milk that starts off white and stays white!

 

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Supplies:

Pretty fallen leaves under trees | sacks

Shelf paper | Hot-glue gun or school glue

 

 

 

Have you ever wondered why tree leaves take a while to change from green to pretty colors and, eventually, brown?

 

Why wouldn't they just turn to brown overnight, and fall from the tree?

 

Well, it's because of pigment. Pigment is the substance within the leaves that gives them their color. When autumn comes, and the amount of sunlight and temperatures change, leaves change colors in stages. The same leave may go through several colorations. Some trees have a lot of color variation, while others pretty much go from green to one other color, and that's it.

 

To see for yourself, take a fun, short field trip to a park or playground at the peak of autumn color, or shortly after the peak.

 

For an example of variety in color changing, if there is a sour gum or mountain ash tree around, look at the leaves underneath it. See if you can find different leaves that are green, yellow-green, yellow, yellow-orange, orange, orange-brown and brown. Those trees have very gradual stages of color change, compared to many others.

 

You can find amazing, bright shades of red under dogwood and oak trees, and many different shades of red under the same tree.

 

Similarly, you can find beautiful shades of yellow under the gingko tree.

 

Choose a tree that has a lot of leaves under it, and select as many different colored leaves as you can find from the same tree. They should have the same shape. Put the leaves from the same tree into one sack.

 

You can collect leaves from different trees if you'd like, but keep the collected leaves separate so that you can track color progression in each one.

 

When you get back inside, lay the leaves from one tree out onto shelf paper. Organize them from top to bottom, or from left to right. Lay them out starting with green shades, to yellow, to orange, to red, to brown. Glue in place.

 

You can make more leaf banners if you'd like, or make several rows of color-changing leaves on the same banner. Let dry.

 

Hang your autumn leaf color-changing banner and enjoy the colors.

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Environment 13 2012

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