Flowers on the Move
How Does it Help Them Survive?

Plants don't seem to move around much, but they are, indeed, on the move. Have you seen any evidence in your tulip garden?

1. Compare these tulip photos. (Click for larger pictures.)

These photos show the same Journey North tulip garden at two different times.

  • What differences do you notice?
  • What do you think caused the tulips to open and close? (If you've observed this in your Journey North garden, you may have an idea.)
  • How do you think having closed blooms might help the plant survive?
  • How do you think having open blooms might help the plant survive?

2. Explore how tulip flowers open and close by observing your Journey North garden.

As your tulips begin blooming this spring, keep an eye on those flowers.
But first, create a list of questions you have about them.
Then choose one or more to focus on. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
  • Do tulips open and close at certain times of day?
  • Does the temperature affect them?
  • Does it matter whether it's sunny or cloudy?
  • How fast do they open?
  • Do all flowers open or just some?
  • Do older flowers and younger ones do the same thing?
  • Do tulips in different locations open (or close) at the same time?

Use the Flowers on the Move journal page to record your observations. (Or revise it for your study.)

3. Try to make sense of your study by asking these kinds of questions:
  • What patterns did I see? What surprised me?
  • What did my observations "tell" me?
  • How would I answer my question(s)?
  • How might a flower's ability to open and close flower help a plant survive?
4. Find out what scientists think!

Dig Deeper

  • More Observations: In your neighborhood, look for other examples of flowers that open and close. Do they show the same patterns as tulips? If not, how do they differ?

  • Cut Fowers!
    1. Cut some closed tulip flowers (or flowers from another type of plant). What happens when you bring them in the classroom and put them in a jar of water?
    2. Next, bring in two different flowers and put them in jar of water. Cover one with a box to block out light. What do you think will happen? What happens?
    3. You can try this again and put one in a refrigerator and keep one in the warm classroom.
    4. How would you explain your findings?