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Tulip Garden Update: December 5, 2003

Today's Report Includes:

A Growing Number of Gardens!
Another 105 Journey North Gardens have been planted! After adding today's data to your map you'll have a grand total of 234. If you've planted your garden but haven't reported it yet, please do so right away.

You can read all the comments these gardeners have sent (press the "owl button" and follow instructions).But, here s one neat tip:

Keeping the Squirrels at Bay
We made sure to put garlic powder and pepper flakes in with the bulbs to discourage squirrels. We also planted garlic bulbs with the tulip bulbs to discourage the many deer we have in Westchester County from eating the flowers in the spring.
Katonah Elementary School, Fifth grade, Katonah, NY

Albany Educator Spreads the Red

Enthusiasticly planting in Albany

Carol Ann Margolis, educator for Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center in NY has enthusiastically organized the planting of hundreds of Red Emperor tulips to mark the coming of spring in Albany. She wrote to us:

I am delighted to report SUCCESS by having 6 schools plant Journey North tulip gardens outside their schools along with the planting at the Albany Visitors Center. The project even made it to the front page of the local section of the Times-Union newspaper with photos of School #18 planting tulips on a beautiful November day. The sites include five public Albany schools:(School #16,18,19,20 and Thomas O'brien Academy of Science and Technology) and one private site outside a beautiful convent with an attached school. It is an intergenerational project involving the Sisters living at the Kenwood Convent of the Sacred Heart and Doane Stuart School. We can't wait for the red blooms of spring!

Students, teachers and community members alike are looking forward to spring in Albany. When do you predict they will bloom?

Challenge Question #8:
Albany Red Emperors emerged in spring 2003 on St. Patrick s Day! When do you predict they will emerge in 2004?

(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions below.)

Take a look at their hard work preparing for springtime in Albany:

Plan Ahead to Measure Winter Soil Temperatures
We are soon approaching the deepest, darkest time of the year. What do you suppose will happen underground, when air temperatures drop lower and lower? Students can find out using a very simple soil thermometer. "I didn't know you could take the Earth's temperature!" exclaimed one excited student when she saw one. Plan now, before the soil freezes, to place a thermometer in the garden bed.
Plan ahead to use the thermometer in frozen soil: place a sturdy drinking straw into the garden soil and top with an easy-to-find cover.

Plan ahead. This may soon look.. Like this... for some of us!

Where to Purchase a Soil Thermometer:
To purchase a soil temperature thermometer contact Weatherama (1-800-848-4912 ext. 3187) or email them at weatherama1@aol.com. Ask for their simple soil thermometer that sells for $15.00. It has a 4" metal probe with a disk at the top that gives the temperature readings in 5-degree intervals.

How to Prepare to Use a Data Recorder in the Garden
Placing a retrievable data logger into the garden is a bit trickier than using a simple soil thermometer, but well worth the effort.

Here are some suggestions for you:

Teacher Tip: Mapping the Tulip Gardens
Jo Leland, who for years managed the Official Journey North garden in Texas is getting smart after all these years: "We'll be tracking tulips on a specialized map that shows where all current gardens are located," says Leland. "This will simplify things for the younger kids and save time (our most precious commodity) for everyone.

Read on to find out what she did:

Seasons and Cycles: Celebrate the Solstice
The first day of winter is coming! This year it falls on December 22. In the Northern hemisphere it is the shortest day of the year. We also call this day the winter solstice  and some say it is a day when the sun seems to stand still in the sky. For many people it is a welcome day because afterwards the days lengthen, bringing spring!
Read more about this Celestial event:

You'll be amazed to watch the increase in sunlight while we wait for spring to arrive in the garden. Why not keep track of the daylight increase and the angle of the sun. Start December 22 - grab your meter/yard sticks and head outside to answer this:

Challenge Question # 9:
Use your body, or something on the school yard to answer this: How long is the sun's shadow on the shortest day of the year? How do you think this will change in 1 month, in 3 months?

(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions below.)

Try This!
Don't miss this chance to start keeping a record to compare shadow length data from month to month. Do you have a spot in your room where the sun streams in through the window? This activity helps to demonstrate how the earth and sun may appear from a view in space.


Spotlight on Inquiry Strategy
Following the Sun, the record keeping experiment described in this update will generate lots of creative thinking in your classroom. Discussing ideas, data, "ahas," and possible explanations are vital for inquiry-based learning and reflect the way scientists work. Here are some tips to help you lead discussions that foster scientific thinking.

How to Report to Journey North

Don't forget to report when you have PLANTED your Journey North Garden

This is the last Tulip Garden Update of the Fall 2003 season. We want to make sure you are on the map, so if you have forgotten to report your planting please report it now.

Simply press the "Owl" button to report from your site. (From the same button, you can also "Go to the Sightings Database" and read comments from all gardeners.

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question

IMPORTANT: Answer only ONE question in each e-mail message.

1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-tulip@learner.org
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #8 (or #9).
3. In the body of the message, answer ONE of the questions above.

This is the Final Fall Tulip Garden Update. So from Journey South headquarters, it's time to say "over and out" until spring's Journey North comes to you with our first Tulip report on February 6, 2004!

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