Science begins with observation. By looking closely, you just might
get some ideas about what will happen in the spring! Start by exploring
bulbs from the outside before moving to the
ARE these things we're using to gauge spring's arrival?"
Laying the Groundwork: Selecting
Divide the class into groups of 3 to 4 students. Have each student
select the bulb he or she will plant this fall (and observe during
Bulbs, Up Close
and draw. Pass out copies of the My
Tulip Bulb journal page. Ask students to use the first box
(What I See) to draw a picture of the bulb. Encourage
them to look first at the whole bulb and then notice details
of different parts (e.g., the shape of the top and bottom, how
the skin looks). Once they've looked with their eyes alone,
hand out magnifying lenses if you have them. What more do they
and describe. As students use their eyes and other
senses to explore bulbs, have them discuss their discoveries
in their groups. Circulate and, if needed, help students
write descriptive words for each of their
sensory observations. Encourage them to use words that could
paint a picture for someone who had never seen a bulb before.
Create a class chart of these words and phrases and a list of
"What I Wonder" responses. These can inspire more
What If . . .? Time
Ask each group to compare its bulbs and notice how they are
the same and different. Put out string and rulers, tape measures,
scales, or other measurement tools. Challenge groups to line
the bulbs up from smallest to largest or lightest to heaviest.
Next, have each group change places with another group so students
can compare even more bulbs. Make a class list of the similarities
and differences students noticed.
for older students: Print
a copy of these graphs for each student. Have them weigh and
measure their bulbs as described on the handouts. Next, plot
the weights and circumferences of all the bulbs in your class.
Have students answer the handout questions in their journals.
When planting this fall, mark the location of each student's
precious bulb with a popsicle stick. As extra insurance, label
each location on a garden map.
* Tulip Bulbs (1 per student)
* Magnifying lenses (optional)
* Measuring tools (see Step 3)
* Journal page: My
Tulip Bulb (pictured below)