Seasons and Cycles:
Indoor Bulb Experiments


What would happen to my bulbs if…
While waiting for your garden to grow, you can use the time to experiment with bulbs indoors. "Forcing" bulbs can bring your experiments conveniently closer to your classroom. (*Note: Plan Ahead. This experiment will need 3 full months of cold treatment.)

How to Start?
Selecting Bulbs for Forcing

Choose bulb varieties clearly marked "good for forcing." Store the bulbs in a cool, dark location (35-55 degrees F) until you're ready to plant them. (A refrigerator is ideal.) Do not subject the bulbs to extreme heat or freezing temperatures.

Setting Up Your Experiments

What effect does the cold have on the bulbs?
Include a fair test placed at room temperature.

1. As a class, have students brainstorm and list all the possible variables that might affect the bulbs. What research questions do you have about each variable?

2. Go through the list you created. Ask students how they might design an experiment to test each question on the list.

Inquiry Strategy Spotlight
Scientists design investigations to answer their questions and test hypotheses. Many of the questions asked by student and professional scientists lend themselves to systematic investigations. How do you frame a good question? Here is a resource to help you.

Planting Your Bulbs
Plant the bulbs in big enough pots and fill these with potting soil.

If the pots are deep place small rocks in the bottom for drainage.
It is recommended that you position the bulbs level with the top of the pot with a small gap between each bulb and the edge of the pot.
Cover the bulbs with soil and gently pat it down. Label each pot with the type of bulb, the date planted and the experimental treatment.

Then water the pots well and let drain.

Now the bulbs are ready for their cold treatment experimenting to begin.

Go to Part 2- Putting Bulbs into Cold Storage >>