Teaching Suggestions
Tulip Bulbs: The Inside Story!
(Back to Slideshow Overview)


A tulip bulb is an amazing container: a swollen underground stem that stores food energy. It contains a miniature plant with flower, leaf, and root parts, all ready to spring forth when conditions are right. View the slideshow and use its accompanying activities and resources to explore this essential question:

Essential Question:
What is stored inside the tulip bulb?
Set the Stage for Learning

1. Preview slideshow. As students study the cover photo, ask pre-reading questions:

  • How would you describe the inside of a tulip bulb?
  • What is stored inside a tulip bulb?
  • What do you think the bulb needs to survive underground in the winter?
  • How will the bulb change in the spring?
  • Which parts of the bulb can you name?
  • What does each part of the bulb do?


booklet cover

Tulip Bulbs:
The Inside Story

2. Preview images using the Photo Gallery page. On chart paper, post the essential question: What is stored inside the tulip bulb? Have students make predictions and ask questions based on details in the photos.

3. Preview vocabulary using Word Cards. Assess students' background knowledge by asking how each word relates to what is stored inside a tulip bulb. Encourage them to predict how the words may be related to each other.

Viewing the Slideshow

Read the slideshow together. Stop occasionally to spotlight key ideas or ask questions. Encourage students to share their own questions sparked by the images and text.

The printable booklet can be used for partner or at-home reading.

After-Reading Activities

1. Explore the inside of a tulip bulb. Carefully dissect tulip bulbs for students to examine. Have them identify each part of the bulb. Encourage them to summarize the facts they learned from the slideshow. Use word cards or revisit the text, if needed.

2. Study diagrams. After students have a chance to explore, draw, and describe the parts of a tulip bulb, use labeled diagrams to review facts about the "science inside" a bulb.

3. Read with fluency and expression. Pair students. Provide a copy of the text-only page. Invite them to read aloud the text together in a variety of ways. This text page can also be used as an oral reading assessment.

4. Ask Reflective Questions. Encourage readers to think beyond the text with questions like these:

  • How do the inside parts of a tulip bulb work together?
  • What factors may impact the tulip bulb's winter survival?
  • What factors may impact the tulip bulb's spring growth?
  • Why do you think people describe tulip bulbs as "underground storage containers"?
  • How can similes help us describe tulip bulbs and its parts? Examples: A bulb is like...because...
    The tulip root is like...because...
    The tunic is like...because...
  • How do you think different bulb parts will change in the spring?
  • What do you think will cause bulb parts to change?
  • We've explored many characteristics of a bulb: size, shape, color, weight, texture, etc. Which characteristics do you think will affect when or how the bulb grows next spring?
  • What is a bulb? (A bulb is any plant that stores its complete life cycle in an underground storage structure. The primary function of these underground storage structures is to store nutrient reserves to ensure the plants' survival.)

5. Assess understanding with Word Cards. Revisit the essential question: What is stored inside the tulip bulb? Place students in small groups and distribute the word cards. Challenge them to write a response paragraph that answers the question using as many of the vocabulary words as they can. Encourage them to describe the primary function of each part found inside the tulip bulb.


Helpful Handouts for Exploring a Tulip Bulb
Graph of Bulb Weights Graph of Bulb Circumference
My Tulip Bulb Weight Circumference
Drawing a Bulb wordcards
Drawing a Bulb What, Why, What Word Cards
Parts of the Tulip Parts of the Tulip Parts of the Tulip
Bulb Diagram #1 Bulb Diagram #2 Parts of the Tulip
Related Links to Extend Learning

For detailed instructions, see: