Sunlight and Shades of Green


Sunlight and Shades of Green (Adapted lesson of Project Learning Tree): test what happens when you block 4 days of sunlight from the leaves of a tree or shrub.


  • Small scraps of cardboard
  • Several large paper clips

Doing the Activity:

  1. Cut out several circles or squares of cardboard, be sure they are big enough  to make a good sized “patch” on a leaf of a tree, shrub, or plant
  2. Go outside and with a paper clip, attach your piece of cardboard to several leaves of a plant or tree. If there are not leaves out yet, you can cover a patch of grass, or an evergreen tree that is exposed to the sun!
  3. After four days, remove the piece of cardboard and closely observe the part of the plant that the sunlight was blocked. 
  4. In your science journal, or on a piece of paper, write down you observations and think about the following;
    1. What caused the spot to appear on the leaf?
    2. Have you ever seen this happen before?
    3. How are leaves important to plants, and how might sunlight affect plant leaves?
  5. Create, by drawing or writing, a model of photosynthesis.  Consider the following when creating your drawing.
    1. What different parts of a tree or plant work together in photosynthesis?
    2. What would happen if the sun stopped shining?
    3. Does photosynthesis take place at night?

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