Global Garden Partners:
How Do We Compare?

Level: 3+
Journal Page: Global Garden Partners

Choose one or more global garden partners elsewhere in North America. As the seasons change, compare weather, climate, geography and other variables. Predict where tulips will emerge and bloom first and why. Revisit your predictions as you learn more!

Laying the Groundwork: Choose a Partner
Do you have friends or relatives in a certain state or province? Are you interested in learning more about a particular area? Choose a garden in a location that fits your interests.

Ways to Keep it Simple
You can take this activity as far as your imagination will carry you, or you can keep things simple. For example:

  • You can do this activity once, or as many times as you like.
  • You can work as a class, in small groups, or individually.
  • You can work independently, without ever contacting the partner site at all. Or, you can contact your "partner garden" by e-mail and build a relationship over time.
  • You can compare only one variable (temperature), or many variables, such as those shown on the chart below.

Where to Choose a Partner Garden
Go to our real-time map. The brown squares show where Journey North gardens have been planted. Click on the "i" icon on the map to get information about a garden. You can also send an e-mail from there.

Exploration: How Do We Compare?

1. Print a copy of the journal page, Global Garden Partners: How Do We Compare? Compare today's temperature in your garden to those at your Partner Garden site. Make predictions and complete the journal page.

2. Once a week, month, or several times during the season, choose one or more new factors to compare. Each time, complete a new journal page, review all your pages, and revisit your predictions. How has your thinking changed?

Extension: Try This!
The list below shows some factors you might compare. You may well have other ideas. In addition to using some of the information sources we list here, consider e-mailing your partner school with questions and an invitation to exchange data.
Global Gardens: Factors (Variables) to Compare
Variable Sample Source of Information
Today's Temperatures Use your own thermometers to find your current local temperatures! Find temperatures at your Partner Garden's site (Canada) (USA) (Europe)

Climate Data (e.g., averages, highs, lows)

Regional Climate Maps (USA)
Regional Climate Maps (Canada)
Regional Climate Maps (Europe)

Daylength (hours of sunlight) Sunrise and Sunset Look-up Tables
Latitude and longitude Look on a site's Journey North Map entry. The numbers at the top next to the town/state are latitude and longitude.
Typical dates for tulips to emerge and bloom Talk with gardeners and nursery owners. E-mail your partner school. Review Journey North archives.
Plant hardiness zones Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Latitude and longitude Look at the Journey North Garden Map entry. The numbers next to the town and state/province are latitude and longitude.
Elevation Topozone - Scroll down to find spot on the left side of the page where you can search by place name. (Your partner's site may have a different elevation than the town does. Find out via e-mail!)
Proximity to oceans Any map
Your own ideas! What other factors affect how plants grow?

Making Connections: Discussion and Journaling Questions

  • How did your predictions change over time as you gathered new information?
  • Which types of data most helped you decide where tulips might first emerge?
  • What have you discovered about how spring arrives in North America and why it travels like it does?

National Science Education Standards

Science as Inquiry
Employ simple equipment/tools to gather data and extend senses.

Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data. (5-8)
Use data to conduct a reasonable explanation.
Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. (5-8)

Physical Science
The sun is a major source of energy for changes on the earth's surface. (5-8)

Earth and Space Science
Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons. It can be described by measurable quantities, such as temperature, wind direction and speed, and precipitation.