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Tulip Garden Update: April 2, 2004

Today's Report Includes:

This Week's Tulip Garden Data
For many of us March brings the first welcome breath of spring. March also brings freak snow storms, tricky fog and treacherous mud. As of yesterday, though, the calendar says, “April.” This month will bring us even longer days, warmer temperatures and more blooming tulips! Take a look at this week’s map and remember back one month ago. What changes do you notice happened in March 2004?

Tulip Map February 27
(End of February 2004)
Today's Tulip Map
(End of March 2004)

Which Comes First, the Tulips or the Leaves?
Leaf-out Map - April 2, 2004
Leaf-out should occur sometime after your tulips emerge. Is this true where you live?

Here's an observation that only takes an instant to make: Look out the window (or better yet, go outside) and see if "leaf-out" has occurred. We define "leaf-out" as the moment the leaves on a tree are as large as a quarter. (This is also when the leaves are big enough to make full shade under the tree.)

Let’s make this leaf-out map show us a more accurate picture of spring! Report your observations to Journey North – wait 5 minutes for the map to display your sighting and then watch the MapServer each day. Pass the word to friends and relatives far and wide and let’s watch the greening up of the continent!

Seasons and Cycles: Focusing with O'Keeffe on the Details

Georgia O'Keeffe was an artist finely attuned to the sights and sounds of the natural world. In addition to looking closely and intimately at her subjects, she often wrote of the things she heard around her: blowing wind, deep stillness, rustling trees and animal sounds. She transferred these sounds into the mood of her paintings using color and form.
Each year as spring advances, we are drawn to the wonder and beauty of her work.

Use this art lesson to take a moment to focus on the beauty of springtime in the natural world around you.

My Native Plant Field Guide
Drawing courtesy of Archbold Biological

Did you know that every one of us live in a place that contains native plants special to just the place we live? The geography, climate, and microclimate of each special location combine to make a habitat just right for the plants.

Botanical field guides are useful resources for identifying and learning about your local plants. Creating your own personal or class guide is a great way to preserve and record botanical history for now and the future.

Try your hand at making a field guide for the native plants in your area.

Pattern Puzzler: Discussion of Challenge Question #6
Ever think about the pattern of emerging and blooming gardens? Do you find yourself looking at the tulip map and wondering why all the gardens in the same area don't come up at the same time?
This question stimulated some students in Woburn, MA to think. Holly Cerullo’s 7th graders found they had more questions than answers- a nice reminder of how challenge questions lead to real inquiry in the Journey North classroom.

Here are some of their thoughts and questions:

  • This could be some microclimate type factors.
  • Are they different gardens at the same school?
  • Are they different schools in the same town?
  • Are they nearby towns?

And in conclusion they made this thoughtful statement: “We figure that whether or not the planting rules were followed exactly could effect the emerging dates no matter where the gardens are.”

Teacher Tip: JN and Inquiry
Some activities in Journey North prescribe questions, procedures, and data for students to interpret; others challenge students to ask their own questions and design investigations to try to answer them. This reflects the continuum of classroom-based inquiry. Most Journey North classroom science explorations fall somewhere in between.

In an inquiry-oriented classroom, the teacher is a co-explorer and guide who cultivates curiosity and challenges students to think and act like scientists as they explore intriguing questions. It is a place where diverse ideas are valued and students feel safe taking risks to "think out loud" as they share, debate, and justify emerging ideas. Students have time and opportunities to explore, experiment, test and refine ideas as they collaboratively build understanding. But it takes time, practice, and sometimes, a shift in teaching strategies, to create a classroom where inquiry can flourish.

Find out more about inquiry strategies:

What Does Blooming Mean to a Tulip: A Journey into Inquiry
Credit McGehee
“Curiosity is the centerpiece of inquiry -- the desire to know (in Greek, scio. -- etymological root for the word science); and curiosity is indicated by a question or questions (voiced or acted out). To inquire is to seek, obtain and make meaning from answers to one's questions. In science inquiry, questions generally relate to natural and man-made phenomena.”
- Hubert Dyasi

Go out into your tulip garden this week and focus on drawing and writing. What do you know about your tulips? Now that they are above ground – growing and maybe even blooming – take the time to look and think about the anatomy and life cycle of the plants you explored as bulbs last fall.

Calculate to Compare! Challenge Question #8
It is impossible to know if spring is on time! Sometimes it seems like it is earlier this year, and sometimes it seems later.

Last time we asked you to compare this spring with last spring, but we gave you some statistics to help you compare them like scientists might.
Here’s what we found:

Gardens Emerged:
2003: 104 (gardens have emerged) DIVIDED BY 287 (planted)= 36%
2004: 157 (gardens have emerged) DIVIDED BY 296 (planted)= 53%
Conclusion: Spring 2004 looks ahead of Spring 2003

Gardens Blooming:
2003: 17 (gardens have bloomed) DIVIDED BY 287 (planted)= 5.9%
2004: 17 (gardens have bloomed) DIVIDED BY 296 (planted)= 5.7%
Conclusion: These numbers are too close to know.

Challenge Question #8:
“As of today can you calculate what percent of our tulip gardens have emerged? What percent have bloomed?

  • Here are the facts:
    So far 222 gardens have emerged out of a total of 298 planted.
    So far 47 gardens have bloomed out of a total of 298 planted.”

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

Our Tulip Expert Gives Us the Scoop on Cold Weather and Tulips
Worried about your tulips in a sudden cold snap? Tulip expert Mary Meyer of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum says:

"If the flower buds freeze, they will not bloom. Tulips are OK at 25 or even 20 degrees, but temperatures below 20 degrees can be fatal to tulips. Any part that is frozen will turn white and not be able to make sugars for the flower to continue to form this year--or for the bulb to store for next year's plant."

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 #8
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 April 9, 2004.

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