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Tulip Garden Update: February 6, 2004

Today's Report Includes:

What’s in Store for 2004?
Frozen Ice Palace in St. Paul, MN
credit Wayne Kryduba
Record cold temperatures have sent parts of North America into the deep freeze the past few weeks. News of Snow storms and ice palaces make many of us feel deeply rooted into the winter of 2004!

But wait… we can see some green on today’s tulip map. The first Journey North tulips 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 2004 goes to...

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

The Stories that Maps Can Tell
Maps hold hidden stories. Like those graphic puzzles called “Magic Eyes,” the longer you look at them the more chance you will see the story unfold. Let’s begin the spring season with a few simple questions about this week’s tulip map.

Look carefully at the map- what statements can you make from looking at the map? See if you can accurately answer these questions:

  1. What do the dots (symbols) represent?
  2. What do the green lines on the map represent?
  3. Do you see a pattern for the tulips that have emerged?
  4. Can you explain why the tulips are emerging in this pattern?
  5. What else do you wish the map could tell us?

NEW THIS SPRING! MapServer Makes Instant Maps
click for the latest tulip map
Before, our tulip garden maps were updated once per week. Now, our new "MapServer" will add your data to the map while you wait. (Maps are remade every 5 minutes, after latitude and longitude of all new sightings have been retrieved.)

With the click of a mouse you can also read comments from observers, zoom in or out, print maps and/or save them as image files.

Try This: Testing 1,2,3...Put Your "Practice Report" on the Map. Come to the web and test it out.

This is a "beta version," and has not yet been tested by the public. Please give it a try!

What Makes Them Grow?
The weather across much of North America this January won’t be forgotten soon. Record snow fall and below zero temperatures clearly told us THIS IS WINTER! The good news is that spring will eventually come to our locations. But what is involved with springtime? What causes our tulips to emerge out of the soil? Put on your thinking hats and brainstorm all the things that make spring happen. Then pick out your best ideas to answer this:

Challenge Question #1:
"What are the most important factors that affect WHEN your tulips will emerge?"

(To respond to these questions, please follow the instructions below.)

Predicting Pequot with Statistics
Pequot Lakes students are happy to greet the Ground Hog and welcome the spring JN season!
Will our gardens be emerging and blooming late or early this year? How can you make a prediction accurately? First you will need some good data – the more years worth the better. Looking carefully at data helps us to be precise.

Beam Down to Pequot Lakes, MN! These students have really been dedicated Garden Study scientists. A simple look at their school will tell you this! Their garden site is located near 46.7 degrees North latitude where winter cold can really send a chill down your spine. They have planted tulips for 8 years in a row. Let’s explore their data and make a prediction:

Once you have read through the lesson give those students in Pequot Lakes a hand with predicting spring:

Challenge Question # 2:
“Given the data for emerging tulips in Pequot Lakes for the past 8 years, what is your best prediction for this spring event in 2004?”

(To respond to these questions, please follow the instructions below.)

Teacher Tip: Make a Student Portfolio for Assessment
A new Journey North season brings lots of excitement. Students gather information, send in field observations, study maps, calculate migration distances and spend time researching topics of special interest. All of these activities promote rich learning experiences. The challenge is how to organize this vast amount information for project assessment. A creative project portfolio is one answer!

"Shutter" fold student portfolio
Self-contained organizer makes a simple and complete display

Find out more:

Try This! Spring Fever
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. This accumulated heat is measured in units called "Growing Degree Days". This activity will help students understand this concept. As they measure temperatures each day, they can analyze the role temperature plays in setting the pace of spring's arrival.

Growing Degree Days- Measure and Calculate Tulips
Here's an activity that will help students understand what it takes to get plants to grow.
Link to find the directions for keeping a running total of the growing degree days necessary to get your tulips to bloom,

For an additional challenge:
How much heat does a bulb need to thrust its first leaves up through the soil? Collect soil temperatures and calculate the GDD required for your tulips to emerge from the ground. A soil thermometer placed with the tip of the probe 7” deep would give you a picture of the temperatures the bulb experiences.

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."

If you have a teacher tip to share, please let us know!

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 #1 (or #2).
3. In the body of EACH message, give your answer to ONE of the questions above.

The Next Tulip Garden Update Will Be Posted on February 13, 2004.

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