Tulip Bulbs: A Survival
Web Slide Show and Story
these reading and questioning strategies before diving into the slideshow/booklet
with students. Select those that fit with your teaching goals and grade
Invite students to draw what they think a tulip plant looks like during
Connections to Self
does your life change from season to season?
weather or climate challenges do you face?
do you overcome those challenges (e.g., get warmer clothes
do you think plants with bulbs survive in different seasons? (Keep
a running list of student ideas and observations.)
that plants can't decide to make changes like we can.
But over thousands of years, they have developed life cycles
and parts that make them more likely to survive in their changing
OR AFTER READING
As you read or re-read the story, create a class chart in which students
list "summer challenges" and "winter challenges" faced
by the earliest wild tulips. After reading, go back to this list; for
each item, ask students to explain which adaptations (life cycle changes
and plant parts) helped the plants survive.
students what they learned from the story about the geography
and latitude where the tulip is buried.
the class that the longitude of the tulip in the tale is 57
degrees E. Challenge students to pinpoint the tulip's location
on a world map or globe.
the class to estimate where the 46th "parallel" (latitude
line) falls on a North American map; have them identify or
mark Journey North tulip gardens planted near that latitude.
What can they discover about the climates in those regions?
students compare their original seasonal drawings with the
images in the slideshow/booklet. How are they the same and
different? How might they revise their drawings based on what
they learned? Ask them to make flipbooks depicting a tulip's
- Ask, How
is the climate in our schoolyard the same as or different
than the climate where tulips first developed? Our
schoolyard is further _____ (north or south). We are ______
(higher or lower) in elevation. Our lowest winter temperatures
tend to be (higher or lower).
- Ask, What
conditions seem to cause tulips to lose their roots and leaves?
do you think causes the soil to warm up in the spring? What
does the soil temperature influence?
signals the plant that conditions are right for growing?
happens in the summer that lets a bulb get through the winter
can a bulb plant survive without any leaves or roots?
do you think the sun seemed to stick around longer in the
reading this story, why do you think people in the southern
parts of the U.S. can't easily get tulips to bloom?
it takes "4 to 7 years to go from a seed to a flowering
size bulb," how do you manage to bloom each year?
questions do you still have about tulip survival or adaptations?
How could you try to find answers?
Tulips, Designer Tulips
You may wonder why tulips in your schoolyard lose their leaves
and go dormant during the summer. After all, you may not have
extremely hot and dry summers like the regions where tulips originated.
The fact that the bulbs still have a similar life cycle reflects
humans have also "bred" tulips for many hundreds
of years. Those we have today no longer look or "act" much
like their ancestors. (Early wild tulips had rather small
flowers, for instance.) Plant scientists create new varieties
to meet human desires for unique colors, designs, and
bloom times. They do this by moving pollen between plants
and saving seeds or growing "clones" from tissues
This! Dig up one of your bulbs in mid-winter
to find out what's up: What's
Happening Underground? Bulb Life Cycles.
This! Ask, How do you think people
in areas with warm winter climates might "trick" tulips
into blooming? Try it yourselves! Simulating
Winter: Indoor Bulb Experiments.
Hint: Tulips require at least 10 weeks
of temperatures between 34 and 50 degrees F. in order
to bloom. People in warmer climates can simulate underground
winter temperatures by planting bulbs in containers
and keeping them in a cool place for two months or
a digital camera to create a photo story or flipbook of the
life cycle of tulips in your own garden. First watch this
sequence of a tulip blooming.
students that tulips are found in the wild in Southern Italy,
Southern France, Turkey, China, and Korea. Have them draw
a line connecting each of those countries. What does it tell
them about the general latitude in which tulips naturally
grow? How does it compare with the latitude of your school?