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Tulip Garden Update: January 16, 1998

Happy New Year! Even though it's January, the list of school gardens has continued to grow-there are now 248. And because it is January, we were surprised by the news that arrived last week: Tulips in two gardens have already emerged-and those in a third garden is close behind! Where are these gardens? Before reading any further, discuss this with your class.

  • Where do you think the first tulips emerged this spring? Why?
  • If we tell you one garden is located at 33.45 N, -112.06 W and the other is at 37.88 N, -122.55 can you find them?

On January 9, this message arrived from the 3rd garden site at 38.99 N, -76.74 W (otherwise know as Rockledge Elementary in Bowie, MD): "This year's tulips have NOT emerged but 5 bulbs from last year's garden were visible this morning. We have had very warm weather for January and our daily soil readings remain in the 60's. We are very concerned that the cold will eventually arrive and the emerged tulips will be killed. We are going to put more mulch of the emerged plants." (fkoontz@cccbbs.com )

WWW Resource
Science Learning Network

Learn about el Nino

Information, activities, and additional WWW links.

In nearby Washington D.C., some varieties of cherry trees were already blooming on January 9--two months early! The suspected cause? El Nino. Will el Nino cause tulips to grow and bloom differently this year? This question has been on our minds, and we'd like to know what you think:

Challenge Question #1
"Do you think el Nino will affect the results of Journey North's tulip study this year? If so, how? Do you think it will affect the tulips in your garden? (Please support your answer by giving examples of how el Nino has changed the weather in your part of the world this winter.)

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

Click Here for
Spring, 1997 Bloom Dates

Predicting the Arrival of Spring
Last September we promised to provide the Spring, 1997 tulip blooming dates to you today, so you could refine your predictions. The data are provided in the table below. (Ten schools have agreed to serve as "Official" Journey North gardens, so that spring's pace can be compared from year to year. Thanks to these gardeners!

Keep in mind that last spring might have been different than a "normal" spring- and that this spring may not be "normal" either. Weather can vary substantially from year to year. For example, based on your own experiences discuss ways the weather has varied on your birthday over the years. How about on Martin Luther King Day or Valentine's Day?

Getting Ready for Spring
The following lessons are now available on the WWW. If you have related activities you'd like to share, please visit the new Journey North teacher discussion area, also on the WWW. (See address below.)

How to Respond to Journey North Tulip Challenge Question # 1

  1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-tulip@learner.org
  2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 1
  3. In the body of the message, give your answer. (Please include the name of your school and your location so we can credit you properly for your answers.)

The Next Tulip Garden Update Will be Posted on February 13, 1998