Teaching Suggestions
Explore Tulip Bulbs: Inside and Out!
(Back to Slideshow Overview)


Your tulips have arrived! It's time for students to EXPLORE them inside and out. Help them DISCOVER that 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. Use the accompanying activities and resources to explore this essential question:

Essential Question:
How does the inside and outside of a tulip bulb
help it survive in the winter and grow in the spring?
Set the Stage for Learning

1. Preview slideshow. Ask questions to assess prior knowledge as students view cover:

  • What does a tulip bulb look like?
  • How big is a tulip bulb? How much do you think an average bulb weighs?
  • What would you expect to see inside a tulip bulb? What's contained inside?
  • Tulip bulbs are planted in the fall. How do they survive in the winter? How do they grow and flower in the spring?

booklet cover

Tulip Bulbs:
Inside and Out

2. Preview images using the Photo Gallery page. On large chart paper, post the essential question: How does the inside and outside of a tulip bulb help it survive in the winter and grow in the spring? Have students make predictions and ask questions based on details they see in the photos.
gallery of images


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 outside of a tulip bulb. Place students in small groups. Provide each group with a tulip bulb and a magnifying glass. Have them examine the outside of the bulb. Have them record words and phrases that describe the size, shape, colors, textures, and distinguishing features of the bulb. Guide their exploration with sentence starters such as: The tulip bulb reminds me of... The bulb is about the same size as... The texture of the bulb feels like... It's the same color as... My tulip bulb is unique because it has...

2. Explore the inside of a tulip bulb. Carefully dissect tulip bulbs for students to examine. Have them draw and describe what they see inside the bulb. Ask them to predict how many parts they see, what each part may be, and why it's an important part of the bulb.

3. Study diagrams. After students have a chance to explore, draw, and predict, use labeled diagrams to teach about the "science inside" a tulip bulb.

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

  • 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: How does the inside and outside of a tulip bulb help it survive in the winter and grow in the spring? 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.


Helpful Handouts
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: