Tulip Garden Update: March 21, 2003
Today's Report Includes:
Warm Temperatures Usher in Spring
A flurry of reports rushed into the Journey North site in the past few days
ushering in spring in time to celebrate the Vernal Equinox. Unseasonably
warm weather melted winter's snow and warmed the soil pushing the new tulip
shoots into daylight.
Gardeners Share the News
Kidron Elementary School, Kidron, OH 03/18/103
Yeah! Of the 20 or so tulips we planted, two have emerged due to a period
of warm weather. The students were very excited! Laura Grimm, 5th grade
Stewart Elementary, Washington, IA 03/17/103
Our first Red Emperor tulips planted last fall emerged this week. That
is a week later than last year's bulbs that emerged 3/11. While our new
site received more sunlight, we had a late snow and a huge pile of snow
remained on our plot. Grounds people have now added mulch over this plot,
hopefully we can carefully dig out where the tulips were!|
Maurice Hawk Elementary School, Princeton Junction|, NJ 03/17/103
Happy St. Patrick's Day! After a winter of blizzards, below freezing temperatures
for weeks, and about 40 inches of snow, we were so happy to see our bulbs
beginning to emerge!! Only a few of the 200 we planted are peeking through
the ground. About 1 inch high!
Patrick Henry Elementary, Arlington, VA 03/14/103
Yipee! We have had SO MUCH snow in Arlington this winter, we thought our
bulbs would never emerge! Today, Mrs. John's class noticed three sprouts
peeking through the soil. Great eyes folks! I wonder when the others will
Scientific Method: How to
Predict Bloom Dates
Students at St. Justin, in Sunset Hills, MO predicted the first bloom dates
for their emerged tulips. Here is what they reported:
"Our tulip bulbs are emerging. There are 8 sprouting. The tulips
emerging are green and red. We can't wait for them to bloom. We made
some predictions to when our tulips will bloom.
4/1 Lauren Nick Jaclyn Adam Dev Gretchen Sarah Peter
4/5 Eve Alex
4/15 Kirsti Rose Matthew Tom Joseph
4/20 Andrew Tommy Anna Josie Luke Stephen Matt Ben Gina Allison George"
These exciting predictions can be turned into hypotheses and authentic
scientific investigations using the guidance of "the Scientific Method."
When you ask the question, "When will our tulips bloom?" you
have formed the first step in scientific research. What is next? Challenge
yourself to practice the Scientific Method.
- Form a question -DONE
- Make an educated guess/prediction - DONE
- Conduct your research: Decide what tools do you
need? How often do you need to take data? Can you find any data from
- Record your results: What are the temperatures, daylength,
rainfall during the experiment?
- Analyze your data: Look at all you collected. How
does this year compare to other year's data?
- Make a conclusion: Was your prediction correct?
Why? What were factors that led to your tulips blooming when they did?
How can you use this data in future years?
Good Question from Woburn,
Holly Cerullo's 7th grade science class from Joyce Middle School in Woburn,
MA reported their tulips emerged this week. Along with their report they
gave us something to think about. Here is their report:
"We have been looking for our tulips since the beginning of March
and finally saw three little red points sticking out of the soil. This
is late compared to most of our previous emerging dates. Of course,
the northeast has had temperatures below normal every week since Thanksgiving.
We are curious about the tulips reported to have emerged in Madbury,
NH. Since they are further north than Woburn, MA, it does not seem to
make sense that their tulips would emerge a whole month before ours.
Topsy Turvy Data
A garden further north blooms earlier than another garden south of it.
Why would this happen? Locate them on a map, then calculate how far apart
- Madbury, NH (43.166, -70.917) or (43:09:00N 70:55:00W)
- Woburn, MA (42.487, -71.155) or (42:29:00N 71:09:00W)
Calculate the distance using the scale of miles in your atlas, or use
the One-line Distance
Calculator offered by the USGS.
Challenge Question #10:
"What is the distance between Woburn, MA and Madbury, NH?"
Next think about some of the factors that could explain this phenomenon.
Hint: Think about how microclimates affect gardens.
Challenge Question #11:
"How many different factors might be involved to explain why tulips
in Madbury, NH would emerge before tulips in Woburn, MA?"
(To respond to these questions, please follow the instructions
Digital Camera as Scientific
We often just think of images as "visual aids" to add to written
text. Scientists use images to dig deeper, drawing conclusions from what
they see in the images. Comparing images across time periods can provide
more insights into change.
on Mar. 11, 2003
this week (Mar. 19): Tulips up!
Red Emperors (Mar. 19)
All images courtesy of Gayle Kloewer
Gayle Kloewer and her 7th grade science students from York Middle School
in York, NE are using their digital camera to collect data and record information
about their official tulip garden. Here is their note to Journey North:
"Hi! Thought I'd send along some pictures of our Official Tulip
Garden as of today. We are extremely dry and up till today, very cold
for this time of year. I thought I'd take pictures each day this week
as today it is currently 60 degrees and will be in the mid 70s by the
end of the week. I don't think we're anywhere close on growing degree
days but, who knows!"
By March 19 we heard news that 20 out of 25 of their tulips had emerged!
The camera came into use once again and the class sent pictures for us
Use your keen observation skills to answer this:
Challenge Question #12:
"Study the images to the right that were taken within about a week.
As scientists, what conclusions can you make about the pictures?"
(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions
Notes from a Jr. Scientist
When the tulips emerged in York,
NE March 19th, it was time to look back to the notes that were taken back
in the fall. How did bulb size and weight affect emergence data? Were their
Megan is the scientist
The first to emerge was
not the largest bulb
Third period science student Megan took a moment to share notes from her
“Tulip #5 was the first one up. We measured it
at 19.5 grams and 130 millimeters in circumference. It wasn't the biggest
bulb we had. The biggest was #9, which weighed 44 grams and was 150 millimeters
around. That means our class hypothesis about the biggest bulb coming up
first was wrong. Maybe it will still have the biggest flower. I personally
didn't think weight would matter so my hypothesis was right.
Signed, Meghan from Mrs. Kloewer's 3rd period science class"
Spring Fever and Growing
Ice melts, leaves emerge and tulips bloom--the winter world comes alive
as the earth warms. Scientists have discovered that you can actually measure
the amount of heat it takes to make some spring events occur. Like in baking
a cake, the oven must be set at a certain temperature--and the cake must
remain in the oven for a certain length of time--in order for it to bake
properly. Plants respond similarly. Using a simple formula and a base temperature
you can measure the amount of accumulated heat in units called "Growing
Degree Days (GDDs)."
Gayle Kloewer's class is keeping track of their
GDDs. They wrote us last week:
"I thought I'd figure out the growing degrees days up to today.
We are up to 27 GDD since Jan. 1st. Last year we were up to 59. We were
even down to the single digits this past week."
Dig deeper into GDDs then put your knowledge to work by measuring, calculating
and recording temperatures in your tulip garden.
Investigate the microclimate of your tulip garden this spring. You can
start to measure when the daytime temperatures reach the base temperature
of 40 degrees F. Each day's data will help you to analyze the role temperature
plays in setting the pace of spring's arrival. Place a thermometer (a
minimum/maximum thermometer is ideal) in the garden site and take daily
Compare these temperatures with your daily newspaper's temperatures (published
a day later). How do the temperature data compare? What do these data
show you about your garden microclimate?
Draw Your Own Wave of Spring
As tulips begin to grow and bloom in the spring, you may be surprised to
see when and where they bloom. On your classroom map draw the "waves"
of spring by connecting each week's garden data points with a line called
an isopleth ("Isopleth: A line on a map connecting points at which
a given variable has a specified, constant value".) As the weeks go
by you will begin to see a picture of the advance of spring. For more tips
Use a clear plastic/transparency overlay on top of your classroom map
to draw the isopleth map. Have a separate plastic sheet for emerging and
blooming isopleths. At the end of the season study and compare the two
sets of lines.
Spring's Journey NORTH?
Discussion of Challenge Question #8
Last Update we asked, "Does spring truly move northward? In which direction(s)
is spring moving, and why you think this is so?"
As you might first think, spring should advance northward from the equator
to the North pole. But it doesn't work that way! The climate of North America
is influenced by two major effects, "continental effect" and "maritime
Springtime temperatures are warmer along the coasts due to the ocean's influence.
(Since water warms and cools more slowly than air, water has a more constant
temperature year-round than land does. This means that land near the ocean
has a more constant temperature than land at the same latitudes in the middle
of the continent.) Because winter temperatures are not as cold near the
ocean, spring events occur earlier in those areas. This means that spring
doesn't just move north, but it moves north FIRST along the COASTS. If you're
curious to learn more, do a Web search using the words "Continental
Effect" or "Maritime Effect."
Pueblo Tulip Data: Discussion of CQ #9
Kathleen Allen's class tulips in Pueblo, CO are up out of the ground. Here
are the dates they have emerged in the last 7 years:
eaten by a gopher!
In Challenge Question #9 we asked you to "Analyze the tulip EMERGED
dates for the Pueblo garden. Find the mean (average), median and range
of the dates." Working with just 6 dates (due to the gopher in 2000)
here's what we found:
- The Mean date = Feb. 25. This was a little tricky because of the
March date. We transformed the March date into Feb. 31 so we could calculate
easier. This gave us a total of 148 days divided by 6. That made the
mean = 24.666. We rounded to 25.
- Median date is March 24. The median fell between March 23 and 25.
- The Range was 12 days.
How to Respond to Today's Challenge
IMPORTANT: Answer only ONE question in each
1. Address an e-mail message to: email@example.com
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge
Question # 10 (or #11, or #12).
3. In the body of EACH message, give your answer to ONE of the questions
The Next Tulip Garden Update Will Be Posted on March
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