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Teaching Suggestions
Global Climate
Exploring Factors That Affect Plant Growth

(Back to Slideshow Overview)


Wet, dry, cold, hot, windy, calm. Citizen scientists have planted tulip test gardens in places with different climates. Select a partner garden. Compare characteristics and climates. Predict how your gardens will grow.

Essential Question
How do the Earth's different climate conditions affect plant growth?

Set the Stage for Learning

1. Assess background knowlege by displaying a world map and asking students to imagine they are planning a dream vacation. Encourage them to share where and when they would travel. Ask students about what they would pack for the trip. What items would be suitable for weather they expect in that region of the world?

Have students list their top five dream destinations. As they are sharing their list of favorite locations, ask them if climate conditions are important factors? Discuss which climate conditions are most appealing to people and why.

Global Climate

2. Preview images using the Photo Gallery. On chart paper, post the essential question: How do the Earth's different climate conditions affect plant growth? Make predictions and ask questions based on the photos.

Photo Gallery
Viewing the Slideshow

Read the slideshow together. Stop occasionally to spotlight ideas or ask questions. Encourage students to share their own questions. The printable booklet can be used for partner or at-home reading.

Activities for Exploring Climate
Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.
-Mark Twain

1. Review weather and climate. The term weather refers to the day-to-day changes in atmospheric conditions. Climate refers to long-term weather conditions. Use guiding questions to spark discussion, invite research, and assess understanding.

2. Choose partner gardens and compare. Use the Test Garden Maps to select one or more garden partners in the Northern Hemisphere. Research climate conditions and collect data about current weather patterns. Ask guiding questions:

  • What factors do you think will affect when tulips emerge in the spring?
  • Where do think the emerging tulips will be reported first? Why?
  • What climate conditions do tulips need to grow and bloom?

Consider contacting partner schools with questions and an invitation to exchange data. An e-mail link is included with every Field Report.

3. Explore places with contrasting climate conditions. Invite students to explore temperatures around the globe. Find different kinds of maps to explore geography of areas that include Test Gardens. Predict what factors might affect plant growth.

Helpful Handouts

compare my garden
Venn Diagram 
Guiding Questions
Garden Comparison Chart
Factors to Investigate
Reference Chart
How Do My Predictions Change?
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