Take-Home Tulip Garden
Repeating the Experiment

When scientists conduct an experiment, they try to repeat it many times. The more it's repeated, the more reliable the data. Imagine seeing Journey North tulip test-gardens growing all around your community! Here's how to invite families to join in this international experiment.

Laying the Groundwork: What Would Happen If . . .?
As a class, explore the idea of taking bulbs home and planting plots around your town. Discuss these questions:

  • Do you think the tulips in all of these gardens would grow and bloom at the same rate. Why or why not?
  • What factors might make a difference? (Think about factors you considered when you chose your school garden site.)
  • What "rules" should we use for planting our gardens? How should we gather our data in the spring?

Exploration: Let's Find Out!

  1. Send students home with bulbs (1 or 2 each) and a letter for parents. Families are welcome to participate in Journey North.
  2. After gardens have been planted, give students time to discuss their experiences. Then have each student draw a map of his or her home garden site. Maps should show the following:
    - the distance from the garden to the house
    - the location of trees or other sources of shade
    - the location of pavement or other sources of heat
    - geographic directions: north, east, south, and west
    - any other factors students feel are important

Making Connections: Spring Reports

  • In the late winter and spring, have students report back to the class twice: 1.) when their tulips emerge and 2.) when their tulips bloom. Keep a class chart. Challenge students to organize the data and try to make sense of it. (Journey North News Updates will help them do this.)
  • When your class reports to Journey North, please consolidate the home garden data rather than report each garden separately. For instance, you could report average emergence and bloom dates. In the "comments" section of your Field Data Report, tell us the results of your community-wide experiment!

National Science Education Standards

  • Ask a question about objects, organisms, events.
  • Use data to conduct a reasonable explanation.
  • Communicate investigations and explanations.
  • Scientists use different kinds of investigations depending on the questions they are trying to answer.
  • Organisms have basic needs. They can survive only in environments in which their needs can be met.

National Geography Standards

  • How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information.


Take-home Letter