A bit of chromatography

A facebook friend and fellow homeschooler recommended a autumn leaf chromatography experiment (here's another one.) It looked like fun so we tried it.

Sandis collected green leaves and yellow leaves from the same tree. The girls tore them up, green in one jar and yellow in another. We covered the leaf pieces with isopropyl alcohol after a discussion about why we couldn't just use beer as the alcohol (see, learning all the time!) We then placed the jars in a casserole pan and put hot water around them. We let them sit for several hours to extract the colors from the leaves (you could tell because the alcohol had colored.) Stella and a friend then put in strips of coffee filters as our chromatography paper and we left them for another few hours. When we got home from soccer, we had some nice lines on our filters!

Pretty easy to do and you get some science in your week - try it, your kids will like it!

Here are some pictures:

Yellow leaves all chopped up and covered in alcohol:

The two jars with chromatography strips:

The completed strips:


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