From Seed to Seed:
Activity 16: The Quest for Light
Associated Lesson Topics:
Planting the Seed...
What can you tell me about leaves? What do you think gives leaves their green color? Are all leaves green? What happens to leaves in the fall? How and why do you think they change from green to other colors? Do different-colored leaves have different pigments?
Pigments play a crucial role in photosynthesis. Without pigments, leaves cannot absorb the light that is necessary for photosynthesis. The pigments found in different types of leaves are different. In this activity, students will use a relatively simple technique-paper chromatography-to differentiate pigments.
This experiment is even more interesting if it coincides with the changing of leaves in the fall in temperate regions. Students can collect different-colored leaves and explore the answer to the above questions using paper chromatography.
Harvesting the Crop...
Students can research the role that each pigment plays in the plant.
Are they all involved in light capture? We really only know the
role of a few of the pigments found in plants. If students are unable
to determine the role of some of their pigments, have them hypothesize
what the role might be.
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