Tulip Garden Update: February 9, 2001

Today's Report Includes:

First to Break Ground in 2001
The first tulips of 2000 have emerged! But before you look, guess where they are:
• In which states, provinces or countries do you think tulips might be growing?

And the award for the first tulips of the year 2001 goes to...

...Now whose do you think will be the first tulips to bloom?

Comparing This Year to the Past Two Years
We thought it would be fun to compare the springs in 2001, 2000 and 1999. Take a look:
 2001 Map 2000 Map 1999 Map

Print out the three maps and look at them together. What do you see? How do they compare? What is similar and what is different between them? Make lists of the states and provinces where gardens have emerged each year, then compare them by putting your information into a Venn diagram. What caused these differences or similarities? Make a list of the questions you are thinking when you compare them. Then answer these questions:

Challenge Question #2
"What are some striking differences you see between the three years?"

Challenge Question #3
"As scientific researchers, what kinds of questions would you like to pursue and where would you look to find the answers?

Unseasonably Warm in the Pacific Northwest!
We can see the results of an unusually warm winter in the Pacific Northwest when we look at today's update map. Gardeners in Delta, British Columbia report an unusually warm January. Students in Lynwood, Washington write to tell us they have had unseasonably mild temperatures in January.

So often we will hear people say things like, "Last winter was the coldest ever," or "We have had the wettest year on record." How do they know these things? I bet there is information that is recorded about the weather, but I wonder how to find it. Scientists have ways of finding data to support them. See if you can do some work to answer this next question:

Challenge Question #4
"How many different places would you look to find information to support this statement: 'Last winter was the coldest ever'? List the places that you find."

Eager Scientists Are Tracking Spring in Their Tulip Gardens
Ice melts, leaves emerge and tulips bloom--the winter world comes alive as the earth warms. Don't you just want to plant yourself outside right next to that warming soil and experience all that happens around you? Here is a sampling of reports from students that are eager for action:

Hidden Hollow Elementary in Kingwood, Texas:

"We have 6 tulips that we saw had emerged when we came to school on Monday. The rain and cold weather has really helped. The students want to go see hourly if their tulip has emerged."

Monte Vista Elementary in Phoenix, Arizona:

"Our tulips have emerged! My first graders are very excited. We planted 100 bulbs, only 6 have emerged so far and we are looking at them every day."

Enota Elementary School in Gainesville, Georgia:

"We went right out first thing this morning and sure enough, when the children pulled back the pine straw, the tulips were up! They were very excited! The tips of the tulips look strong and healthy. We measured them and will check each Friday to track the growth"

Sun Power: Graphing the Sun's Power
While we are watching those little shoots grow, why not ponder one of the BIG questions that we often think about: "What kind of sun power does it take to get plants to grow?"
Scientists have discovered that you can actually measure the amount of heat it takes to make some spring events occur. You can be scientists, too!

Try This!
Here's an activity that will help students understand what it takes to get plants to grow.
As you measure your tulips collect temperatures each day and then analyze the role the sun plays in setting the pace of spring's arrival.

Teacher Tip: Organizing Your Classroom Tulip Study
Teachers' feedback gives us some of the best tips to pass on. Here are some valuable ideas from veteran Journey North teachers to help you organize your tulip study:

A Tip From Texas
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. Here's what I did:

1) I printed a copy of the map that shows where all Journey North gardens are planted:

2) I took it to the local Kinko's and had it enlarged 320%.

3) I trimmed off the edges so it would go into their laminator--and walked out with a specialized map for under \$5.00.

Too Many Tulips?
No such thing! But if younger students are overwhelmed with tulip data, follow the suggestion of 1st grade teacher Patti Prieves: "As the first reports come in, we choose 5-10 places to record on our class map. We choose another 5-10 each time we receive a new report. Throughout the spring, we keep track of when tulips in these gardens emerge and when they bloom. The map becomes an important, ongoing fixture in the room or hallway."

As spring progresses, watch for regular suggestions for analyzing data at all grade levels.

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 #2 (#3 or #4)
3. In the body of each message, answer ONE of the questions above.

The Next Tulip Garden Update Will be Posted on February 23, 2001.