the season, students will have a chance to explore what triggers tulip
growth by comparing real-time tulip garden maps with weather maps. This
activity invites them to explore the same question in their own Journey
North tulip gardens.
Tulips Need to Grow
Gathering Local Spring Tulip Data
the Groundwork: Uncover What Students Think
- Imagine: Ask
the class to imagine they are tulip bulbs underground. Ask, What
does it feel like right now? What will make you spring to life and
poke your leaves out of the soil? What will it be like outside when
- Draw: Ask
your young "tulips" to draw pictures showing all the things
that will help get them growing.
- Discuss: Discuss
students' thoughts and drawings. Make a list factors they think will
get bulbs growing and another list for things they think could keep
bulbs from growing.
students turn their ideas into questions they can explore
by making observations, taking measurements, and gathering other
data. Here are some examples:
* What will the soil (or air) temperature be when our tulips
come out of the ground? (Is it the same for other Journey North
* Will tulips come up if there is still snow on the ground?
* Will tulips in a sunny spot come up before ones in a shady spot?
one of the questions to explore by gathering local data. Have
each student or small group use the What
Do Tulips Need to Grow? journal page (pictured above) to describe
their investigation and make predictions.
Option: Some questions are best explored
by comparing local data with data from one or more partner classrooms.
For instance, Do all Red Emperor tulips emerge when the soil
(or air) is the same temperature? See the lesson, Global
Garden Partners: How Do We Compare?
and gather data. As you make regular garden visits, use the
journal page, Spring
Data: What Do Tulips Need to Grow? to document your findings. You
can edit it for your grade and the question you're exploring. Here
are two options:
a) Gather data on many factors and look for patterns.
b) Only gather information that relates to your
For Younger Students: Use the simpler Our
Tulip Garden journal page.
Setting standards for data: Ask, How can we
make sure we measure the same thing each time we go to the garden? Here
are some ways to make sure your investigation is "fair."
Height: Measure the same tulip
each time or measure several and take an average height. Always
measure from the base of the soil to the tip of the tallest leaf.
it at the same time each day or use a maximum/minimum thermometer
to get the high and low for each day. If you don't have thermometers
or time, you can find these listed in the newspaper for the previous
does sun cause rain?
It's easy to see how longer hours or stronger sun melts
snow and causes soil to warm, but how can it affect rainfall? Discover
how and link to student activities in the Water
Cycle section of the teacher's background.
your data (optional). You may want to have students make
graphs or drawings to portray data. For instance, they could make
a line graph to compare tulip height with daily temperatures.
your data contain any surprises? Explain.
* What patterns did you notice? What do they "tell" you?
* What new ideas or questions do you have?
* What do you think causes each change we noticed in
the natural world (e.g., warming soil)?
Help students grasp the idea that each change influences others and that
the sun drives them all.
Tip: Thinking Like Scientists (older students)
Students may draw conclusions that go beyond what their
data "tell" them. For instance, they may notice that tulips
emerged when the soil temperature was 55 degrees F. But unless they have
the same data for lots of gardens around the country, they can't
reasonably conclude that 55 degree temperatures trigger Red Emperor tulips
to bloom. And because they can't "control" other factors (like
rainfall), they can't be sure whether temperature, rainfall quantity,
or a combination is responsible. (Besides, in the natural world, many
of these factors overlap.)
figure out what they can learn from their observations and
data. More important, prompt them to think and act like scientists
by using their data to inspire new questions and theories (hypotheses).
Younger students: Ask students to create a new version
of the drawing they did in Laying the Groundwork. Encourage them to include
more detail — and words, if necessary — to show what they
discovered. If you have time, have them explain each component, and the
relationships between them, to you.
students: As you review students' journal pages and listen
to class discussions, check that their explanations, theories, and
new questions reflect the evidence they gathered.