Tulip Garden Update: December 8, 2000
Today's Report Includes:
Time for a Recount?
Another 83 Journey North Gardens have been planted, so you should
now have a total of 190. If not, perhaps you've missed counting a county or two. Of course we're still waiting
to hear from Florida (as well as other southern U.S. states). If you've planted your garden but haven't reported
it yet, please do so right away. We don't want any absentee gardens to miss the count!
Below are comments from some of the gardeners. (All gardeners' comments can be found in the database;
just click on the owl button on any page.)
11/21/00 Stanhope, NJ (40.92N, -74.69W)
"On Tuesday, Nov. 21st we planted our Red Emperor Tulips in our garden bed with Mrs. Swentzel's class, who
are also Journey North Field team members. We have worked with our industrial arts teacher to create a sign for
our garden. The tulips are just one part of this project. We began our butterfly and hummingbird garden beds last
year in the same garden. So as the warm weather nears we hope to be a special stopping place for our migratory
animals, and a beautiful garden to view." (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tulips & Temperatures Underground
We're now approaching the deepest, darkest time of winter. What do you suppose will happen underground,
when air temperatures drop lower and lower? Students in Antigo, Wisconsin (45.12 N, -89.17 W), didn't expect what
"The first graders at our school happily planted 25 tulip bulbs today in the midst of a gentle snowfall
with an inch or so of snow accumulated on the ground! To our surprise, the soil beneath the grass sod that we dug
up was still fairly warm. We even found angle worms crawling in it!" (email@example.com)
"The students of Mrs. Thornton's 6th grade science classes at Woodmont Middle School in Piedmont, SC (34.70N,
-82.45W) have planted their tulips! The air temperature was 7C and the soil temperature at 4" was 6C. We were
outside two days after it snowed here. It has been many years since we have gotten a snowfall in November in South
Carolina. We're already looking forward to spring." (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Students can track temperature changes underground out using a very simple soil
thermometer, just as Mrs. Thornton's students are doing. Plan to use this cool tool once each month to find
out how soil temperatures change over time. Students are always surprised each spring to see how early their tulips
emerge. This activity will help you get ready for their questions about underground temperatures!
Plan to use this cool tool once each month to find out how soil temperatures change over time. Students are always
surprised each spring to see how early their tulips emerge. This activity will help you get ready for their questions
about underground temperatures!
- Begin with a class discussion. Ask students, "What do you suppose will happen underground, when air temperatures
drop lower and lower this winter? Do you think the underground temperatures will be the same as the air temperatures?
Why or why not?" Show students the soil temperature thermometer so they can picture how you will measure underground
- Give students a copy of the Data Sheet: "Tulips and
Have them predict what the soil and air temperatures will be each month, from January through June. (Choose
the same time of month to make your measurements.) For air temperature, students should predict the "average
daily temperature". For prediction purposes, they can simply guess what they think the average temperature
on a typical day would be. However, they should understand the meaning of "average daily temperature",
and they will need to calculate it on the day that you actually take your temperature measurements.
To calculate average daily temperature: Add the day's high temperature plus the overnight low temperature. Then
divide by two. (These temperatures are usually published in your daily newspaper, on the following day.)
- Plan to measure the soil temperature and average air temperature once each month. Before you go outside to
make your measurements, have students look at their original predictions. When they return inside, have them reflect
on their observations and record their thoughts in their science journals. Have them graph the changes in air and
soil temperatures from month to month.
- During the year, make a list of the questions students have about underground temperatures. Try to have students
come up with questions such the Discussion Questions below. Whenever they ask a question, ask them: "What
observations could you make to answer your own question? Encourage them to conduct a scientific experiment following
the proper steps: 1) Form a question, 2) make a hypothesis, 3) design your experiment, 4) analyze your results,
5) draw you conclusion.
- Does the soil temperature change during the day as much as the air temperature changes? Why or why not?
- If there is snow on the ground, does it affect underground soil temperatures? If so, why do you think this
- Are soil temperatures different at different depths beneath the surface? (Students could draw a profile of
the soil, showing how temperature changes with depth.)
- If the sun is shining does the soil temperature rise underground? How does this change at different depths?
(Again, draw a soil profile.)
1. Choose a partner class in Journey North's Classroom Exchange. Arrange to share your predictions and results.
2. Remind students that frogs, worms and countless other creatures survive the winter by living underground.
Have students choose one such animal, then do research to learn about the adaptations this animal has in order
to survive underground.
Where to Purchase a Soil Thermometer:
To purchase a soil temperature thermometer contact Weatherama (612-432-4315). Ask for their simple soil thermometer
that sells for $14.00. It has a 4" metal probe with a disk at the top that gives the temperature readings
in 5 degree intervals.
Avoid Theft: Unfortunately, many teachers have had problems with theft and vandalism. Therefore, do not
leave your thermometer outside. Using the thermometer's probe, make a hole in the soil. Put a drinking straw into
the hole so it will remain open when the soil freezes. Cover the hole with a coffee can so it will not be buried
under the snow.
The Next Tulip Garden Update Will Be Posted on January 19, 2001
Copyright 2000 Journey North. All Rights Reserved. Please send all questions, comments, and
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