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Tulip Garden Update: March 5, 2004

Today's Report Includes:

This Week's Tulip Garden News
It's not yet St. Patrick's Day, but already we are "seeing green" when we glance at today's tulip map. An incredible 39 more gardens have emerged in the past week! Why so many? Is this typical? Today we will look at some weather maps to help you answer these questions.

What is a Typical Spring? Mapping Discoveries
What is normal? Defining a normal or typical spring can be tricky. Lucky for us the U. S. Weather Service keeps all kinds of weather records each year so we can study them for clues. Let's compare this year's weather and tulip maps with last year's maps.
Journey North Tulip Maps
Today's Tulip Map (3/05/04)
Last Year's Tulip Map (3/07/03)

Departure from Normal Temperatures

Take a good look - then try these questions:

  1. Why are the weather maps called “Departure from Normal?”
  2. What do the colors in the weather map key represent (especially red and purple)?
  3. In which year was it colder?
  4. What temperature is the aqua blue color?
  5. How does the temperature change as you travel into the central US in both maps?
  6. Which year do you see more tulip gardens emerged (green triangles)?
  7. How would you describe the pattern of green triangles in each map?

Challenge Question #3:
"What statements can you make about weather and the emerging tulips (advancement of spring) across North America?"

(note: This Challenge Question # falls out of order. -Editor)

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

Springtime Classroom Discussions
Mrs. Monahan's 3rd Grade class wrote to share this, "We have been watching, with much excitement, as tulips are emerging all around the country. We have discussed the fact that other places have different climates and some people will see their tulips before we do. But, we have had several days of warmer weather and were crossing our fingers that our tulips would soon emerge, too. We've been checking every day...and it finally happened! We saw two of our tulips creep up through the ground. We are excitedly waiting for the rest."

Teacher Tip: Start a Science Club
Ever wonder how to fit the Tulip project or other Journey North projects into your busy school day? Maybe a Science Club is what your school needs. Teri Bickmore, a former teacher, is helping inquisitive minds expand over the lunch hour at a local elementary school.

Teri uses JN activities almost exclusively. "We LOVE the tulip study and spend the most time on this. Every scientific/geographical concept we could ever want to cover can be done in this study."

She started out with an idea but no money for any materials. "The beauty of Journey North," wrote Teri "is that I can so easily download activities and lessons from the Journey North site each week for free." Armed with a grant to buy tulip bulbs this fall she has built enthusiasm and fun into this optional science time at her school.

Thinking Outside the (Tulip) Box - In Uzbekistan!
Every now and then we have the chance to think "outside the box." This is what scientists really like! Eager to apply some of the things you have learned about tulip plants and springtime? Read on to find out about an unusual tulip garden planted on the other side of the world. Then join us all in predicting its fate.
Tashkent is located at the red dot.
Somewhere along the northeast border of Uzbekistan, in the capitol city of Tashkent there is an unofficial Journey North tulip garden. This garden, deep in the heart of Asia was planted by Pam Randals, a Journey North teacher from Alaska now with the Peace Corps. Somehow she got a hold of some early-blooming tulips (we're not even sure they are Red Emperors), found a plot of land and planted a tulip garden.
Why unofficial? The tulips were planted according to protocol, but they weren't planted at the right time. They were planted on February 8.

Pam writes, "Yes, the tulips did get planted, but I am not sure they will do any good. They were planted February 8 in Tashkent. Since they were planted so late, I don't know what will happen. I guess we will see. Hope all is well with you and the other JNorthers."

Locate Tashkent, Uzbekistan in your atlas (37.5053, 67.0614). To find it, look near the border of Kazakhstan in the eastern part of Uzbekistan.

  • Link to the Global Gazetteer to find other maps and weather information about Tashkent.

Then answer these questions:

  • What landforms surround the city of Tashkent?
  • How would these landforms affect the climate of Tashkent?
  • What other gardens do we have near 37 degrees North latitude?
  • What area of North America would compare to the area around Tashkent?
  • How do you think the late planting date will affect the tulips?

Challenge Question # 5:
"I think the tulips in Tashkent will emerge and bloom _______ (before, after, or at the same time as) other tulips planted at 37 degrees. Explain your answer."

(note: This Challenge Question # falls out of order. -Editor)

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

The Days, They are A-changing: Learning to be Observers
Credit Gayle Kloewer
How do you and the world around you change as your tulips begin to grow and flower? You might be surprised to learn that with each day that passes your world changes ever so slightly. Using your eyes, your ears, and even your sense of touch you can observe and investigate spring as it advances through your hometown.
Brainstorm what evidence a keen observer could look for. Go out and discover the small things that make for seasonal change in and out of the tulip garden. And then set up questions to help you make sense of the changes you notice.

Try This!

  1. Create a graph showing daylength as time passes this spring. Add your observations to it on the proper dates and formulate a theory that supports what you see.
  2. Was there a time when it suddenly warmed up enough for you to wear shorts for a few days? What other phenomena did you observe during that time? How are these things related?
  3. Compare and contrast the growth rates of your tulips with any of the other observations you made (ex. number of birds you counted, high daytime temperatures).
  4. Organize your observations into a timeline and evaluate what you see.

Hobos In the Garden: Mystery Garden - Discussion CQ #4
Learning to "see a big picture" by studying a graph is a complex, but fun activity. Our temperature data from the last Update was sent to us from a mystery classroom. Did you figure out where the garden was? Here is what you told us about the graphs:

"The graph that shows temperatures above snow has the greatest temperature range."
"This is because above snow, the tulips have to face wind and temperature drops and rises but below the snow the temperature doesn't change that much."
"This area is still experiencing winter and the temperature is not at a constant level"

Snow has great insulation properties. You can see that when it was 25 degrees BELOW zero air temperature the temperature under the snow was 21 degrees ABOVE zero. Can you calculate how many degrees difference that is?

Mystery Revealed
The garden temperature data was sent to us by Jim Minerich and his students from Pequot Lakes Elementary in wintery Northern Minnesota. Thanks!

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 #3 (or #5).
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 March 12, 2004.

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