A great way to “grow” young citizen scientists is through the Journey North Tulip Test Gardens Project. The tulip project is just one of many multifaceted programs available at the Journey North website that uses seasonal change as a major organizer.
The project is very easy to do. Following instructions from Journey North, students plant a specific variety of tulip in the fall. They then go to the project website and log the zip code of their community. A symbol appears on a map of North America that shows their exact location. As spring approaches, students check the tulip garden for signs of emerging plants. When plants are detected, students return to the website and a new icon appears representing plant emergence at their school. When tulips are in bloom, students make a final data entry and a third icon symbolizes the blooming tulips.
As hundreds of classrooms across North America track the emergence and blooming of tulips, students can check weekly to see how spring moves across the continent. The website also provides animation so students can replay the week-by-week progression.
Although student involvement with the tulip project does not begin until fall, it’s very helpful to begin initial planning right now. This is a good time also to go to the website and have your students follow the progression of spring while you become familiar with ways to integrate the project into your curriculum.
The tulip-growth activity is an ideal classroom project for many reasons:
--The project involves the entire class in the planting of the bulbs in the fall.
--No maintenance is required after the initial planting.
-- The outdoors is utilized as an instructional tool.
--The project can complement a variety of curriculum topics (e.g. data analysis,
journaling, map skills, weather patterns, etc., etc.)
--Students are encouraged to become very observant of small changes in the
--Local student-gathered data becomes a part of an international project, with the local
information still highly identifiable
--The blooming tulips add beauty to the school grounds.
The Tulip Garden Study is an elegant example of an engaging citizen science project that promotes interest in nature throughout much of the school year. The interactive map and available lesson information makes the project a rich addition to the classroom.
This is so simple and clever! Thanks for sharing.