Tulip Garden Update: February 25, 2000

Today's Report Includes:

Florida Tulips Were the First to Bloom!
Everyone knows it's sunny and warm in Florida. So you're probably not surprise that the garden at Lockhardt School in Orlando, FL was the first to bloom. But did you expect a California garden to bloom next? And what about the gardens way up north in Oregon and Washington, where tulips have already emerged? Spring is well on its way, with tulips now growing in 52 gardens---but which way is spring going?

Today's Tulip Garden Data

Spring's Journey NORTH?
Maybe we should change our name! As you look where tulips have begun to grow, you may be surprised. How would you answer this question?

Challenge Question #7
"Does spring truly move northward? Using today's data, describe the pattern you see. Explain what direction(s) spring is moving, and why you think this is so."

The Green Wave of Spring
After mapping today's data, how far would you say the wave of spring has advanced? Imagine drawing this wave at different stages over the next months as spring moves across the continent. Such a line is called an "isopleth". ("Isopleth: A line on a map connecting points at which a given variable has a specified, constant value".)

Using this spring's tulip data, draw the wave (an isopleth) at regular time intervals to show spring's advance. The "given variable" could be "tulipsemerged" and your "constant value" could be a certain date. For example, you might choose each Monday's date as the date you'll draw your line. All gardens in which tulips have emerged as of that Monday would be included. You would draw your line by connecting the dots where tulips have emerged. Each week you would draw another line until the wave of spring has advanced across the entire region.

Finally, at the end of the season, you could measure the distances between the waves and determine out how you would complete this sentence:

"Spring advances at the average rate of ___ miles per day."

Counting the Days
Discussion of Challenge Question #6

We asked in our last report, "Do you think counting the number of days is a good way to describe how long it takes tulips to grow? What other information do you need to know about those days?"

"It would be good to know what climate it had on each day," replied Timmy, a 4th grade student in Plano, TX (Teminikmom@aol.com)

Exactly right! And this is why scientists who study plant growth measure something called "Growing Degree Days".

Spring Fever
Tulips, Temperatures, and the Arrival of Spring

As described in this "Spring Fever" lesson, you can add up the amount of heat it takes for your tulips grow and bloom. Now think about this:

Challenge Question #8
"How is growing tulips similar to baking a cake?"

New! "Data Only" Updates to Simplify Mapping
Spring is about to pick up its pace--and we don't want your map to lag behind. Therefore, beginning next week we will post "Data Only" updates on alternate weeks. They will only include Tulip Garden Data and a map. The regular Journey North Tulip updates will continue to be sent twice a month, as indicated on the schedule above.

Watch for the first "Data Only" update next Friday, March 3.
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Questions

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 #7
(or Challenge Question #8)
3. In the body of the message, answer ONE of the questions above.

The Next Tulip Garden Update Will be Posted on March 3, 2000.