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Organizing the Tulip Project/Grade 7

Contributed by Holly Cerullo
Grade 7, Joyce Middle School
Woburn, MA

How Many Bulbs?
  • We plant approximately 50 bulbs ;1 bulb per 2 students.

Starting in the Fall:
  • Before the students receive their bulbs to plant, the students spend 1 class period observing, drawing, and recording information on old bulbs which I cut in half. This lesson, with charts and cross sections, is on the JN website.
  • During another class period, not necessarily consecutive, each student pair receives their bulb for planting and measures the circumference and mass of their bulb. Using the charts and lessons on bulb measurements, provided by Journey North, plus the emerging and blooming dates from our gardens over the past 7 years, students predict when their own bulb will emerge and bloom. This takes one class period to measure and record the data.
    Students graph the data for homework.
    The next day, the students compare their graphs in cooperative groups of four and then work with their bulb partner to make their predictions.
  • During another class period, we discuss the past years' weather conditions and include information on predictions for the upcoming winter weather in our area. Using this information, students work in groups of four to make another prediction as to when they think our first tulip will emerge and bloom. We then average all the group predictions to get a class prediction. Students write the class prediction in their journals. This takes 1 or 2 class periods and can take place any time during the fall planting.
  • All tulip information papers; tulip bulb cross section and observation sheet, graphs of circumference and mass, drawing of garden, etc., are kept in a folder that is left in the room. We can then refer to these whenever we have a discussion about the tulip project.

When Spring Updates Begin to Arrive:
  • Before we plot the first emerging tulips, I ask my students in which states they think tulips will emerge first. This is a class discussion and the students have to defend their predictions. After a class discussion of about 10 minutes, I put the students into groups of four. In these groups, they are to create a list of the first 15 states to have tulips emerge. This takes the rest of the class period.
  • When the emerging updates arrive, I print one copy of the emerging gardens which I tack to the bulletin board containing a 40"x30" map of the United States. Students take turns plotting the gardens, using the longitude and latitude of the city, given on the update.
    • Gardens are marked with a colored map tack. Each color represents one half of a month. (Ex: red - Jan 16-31; yellow - Feb 1-15) This usually takes one class period to explain and demonstrate. After that, students can plot them will the rest of the class continues whatever lesson we are doing at the time.
  • After the first few (January) gardens are plotted, we take a few minutes to discuss where they are and how this fits their predictions. We then spend 5 or 10 minutes each week to discuss the pattern that develops as we plot more gardens. We use the one large classroom map and maps printed from the Journey North website to discuss patterns, predictions, and previous years' data.
    • I plot only emerging dates on our classroom map. However, I use print outs of blooming maps from the Journey North website for discussion and comparisons to our own garden.
    • We continue plotting and discussing, once a week for about 10 minutes, until the middle of May.

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