Colored Light and Chlorophyll

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Updated on Apr 25, 2013

How do green plants become green? They actually use light to create a pigment called chlorophyll, which gives them their green color. But which wavelengths of light allow them to create chlorophyll? Find out using this experiment.


Which wavelengths of light most effectively produce chlorophyll?


  • Cellophane in different colors, or thin plastic sheets and colored markers
  • Scissors
  • Black construction paper
  • Clear tape
  • Green plant with many leaves


  1. Cut out 6 one-inch squares from each color of cellophane. To make your own “colored cellophane,” just color thin sheets of plastic (such as those used for transparencies) with different colors of permanent markers.
  2. Cut out 6 one-inch squares from the black construction paper.
  3. Take two squares of the same color, and tape together three of the edges to make a sort of bag.
  4. Slip the bag over one of the leaves on the plant, and tape together the fourth side.
  5. Repeat this process with the rest of the squares, distributing the colors as evenly as possible over the entire plant.
  6. Leave the plant near a window for a week. Rotate the plant each day so that the leaves get similar amounts of sunlight.
  7. Carefully remove the bags from the leaves, taking data about the leaf’s color as you remove each one. (You can use a chart, similar to the one below, to take your data.) Make sure not to lose track of which bag each leaf had on it.
Keren Perles has worked as an educational writer, editor, teacher, and tutor of all ages. Her experience spans the subject areas, from science and math, to English and the Hebrew language.

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