Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nature Study with a Bit of Science

      This is a little bit of art and science mixed in with nature study, but I thought it would be a fun way of demonstrating what is (or was) going on with the trees right now.  I got the idea from a book I have called Why Do Leaves Change Color? In the book a squirrel talks about how in the spring when a tree gets it's leaves it starts making it's own food, called chlorophyll.  Chlorophyll is what gives leaves their green color.  In the fall, when the days start getting shorter, the trees don't have enough sunlight to to generate enough energy to continue to make chlorophyll, and the leaves begin to die.  The green chlorophyll breaks up and disappears, and what is left are the colors that were there all along, but were covered up by the green. 
     To demonstrate this, I drew out leaf outlines and then had Anna paint them red, orange, and yellow.  When that dried, she painted green on the upper half.  All three leaves have the same shade of green painted on them, but the different colors underneath make the green appear to be different shades.  So, in the summer when you see a tree with light green leaves (like a tulip tree) you can know that in the fall that tree will turn yellow.  Our black oak has very dark green leaves, and in the fall it turns burgundy.  (The leaf out lines were traced from a black oak leaf.) 
     The reason for the poorly executed cursive is that I have been trying to write out things for Anna in cursive more often, so that she will get used to reading it, and in doing so I have realized that my cursive needs some serious help.  Not exactly like our Zaner-Bloser example page.  It's not even strait.


  1. Fun! In the spring, you can also tape a piece of paper down over a section of the leaf. It won't get sunlight and thus will begin to turn colors on that spot.