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Tulip Garden Update: February 27, 1998

Spring's Progress
as of February 27, 1998

Today's Update Includes:

First Emerging Tulip
Photo by
Jo Leland

Today's Tulip Data
Tulips are coming up, as this update will tell! Since February 13th, tulips have emerged in another 62 gardens, for a grand total of 92. And the flowers are keeping pace, with 5 gardens now in bloom.

Suggestions for Analyzing Data
Comparing Spring's Pace from Year to Year

Is this truly an unusually early spring? Do the tulip data support your opinion? The following activity will help you find out. You may want to break your class into groups and have each group responsible for analyzing data from different states and provinces. (To simplify the project, select 1 or 2 representative states/provinces rather than analyzing them all.)
  1. Go to the Spring, 1997 database on the WWW. Select "Tulips Emerged" for each month. (To access the Spring, 1997 database, press the owl button on any page.)
  2. Record all the dates tulips emerged in 1997 for each state/province.
  3. When did the first tulips emerge in each state or province in 1997?
  4. What is the average date tulips emerged in each state or province in 1997?
  5. As spring progresses, do the same for the 1998 data. Continue to keep a running total from each state and province. Compare first dates and averages dates tulips emerged in each place.
  6. As the blooming data arrive later in the spring, repeat the process as with "emerged" data.

Discussion Questions:

  • What conclusions can you draw about the pace of spring in 1998 vs. 1997?
  • How could you graph the data or make a map to illustrate your conclusions?
  • Do the same patterns for "emerged" dates hold for "blooming" dates?
  • Can you think of reasons why it might NOT be accurate to compare the Journey North data from one year to the next?

Challenge Question #3
"According to data collected thus far, in which regions can you say Spring, 1998 is clearly moving at a more rapid pace than Spring, 1997?" Give examples to back up your answer.

(To respond to this Challenge Question, please follow the instructions at the end of this report.)

Comparing Your Garden Year to Year

When you REPORT, please tell us about last year's results.

If you participated in Journey North's tulip study last year, in the "Comments" section of your report, please mention the dates your tulips emerged and bloomed last year. We're interested in hearing how your data compare from year to year.

Journey North-Northeast
Maybe we should change our name! "Does spring truly move northward?, asked Challenge Question #2. According to Ms. DeFreez's 5th grade students at Cotaco School in Somerville, Alabama, it does not:

"We think Spring is moving North-Northeast in eastern US, and North-Northwest in western US. There are tulips emerged all along the Atlantic Coast, Gulf Coast, and Pacific Coast. We noticed that there were no tulips in the mid western part of the United States. After observing the places that tulips have emerged, we think that warm air from the bodies of water (Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic Ocean) are warming the areas of land next to them. (Defreezjw@aol.com)

Mrs.Huter's Class at Council Elem. School in Idaho agrees:

"Tulips emerging do not just follow a northward pattern. We believe the large bodies of water, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, also affect Spring's movement. The large amount of tulip beds along the east and west coasts prove this." (jhuter@mail.sd013.k12.id.us)

"Spring jumped from the east coast to the west coast and skipped the middle," said Mrs. Pfeiffer's 3rd grade students at Watkins Elementary School in Washington, D. C. "We enjoy learning about tulips. There are two isopleths. One isopleth is in the west and one is in the south east." (chcs@erols.com)

What if Winter Returns?
"We're very concerned about the tulips because if we get a freeze, there is nothing to protect them. If a freeze is predicted, do you want us to cover them? " asked Mrs. Min of Crystal Lake, IL (amin@mc.net)

Because this is a scientific experiment in which we're attempting to measure spring's pace, it's important to let nature takes its course. After all, the experiment wouldn't be accurate if the tulips were protected from natural conditions. However, we understand that everyone has become quite attached to their tulips by now. Therefore, we recommend that you designate some tulips your "official Journey North tulips" and leave them exposed. You're welcome to cover the others. Report to Journey North ONLY on the progress of your official tulips.
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question

How to Respond to Journey North Tulip Challenge Question # 3
1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-tulip@learner.org
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 3
3. In the body of the message, give your answer to this question:

Challenge Question #3
"According to data collected thus far, in which regions can you say Spring, 1998 is clearly moving at a more rapid pace than Spring, 1997?" Give examples to back up your answer.

The Next Tulip Garden Update Will be Posted on February 27, 1998

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