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Published: Wednesday, 4/19/2006

Perrysburg pupils track the blooms of spring


Spring doesn t arrive everywhere on March 21, students at Perrysburg s Frank and Toth elementary schools learned this year.

Fourth-graders in the gifted programs at the two elementary schools planted Red Emperor tulip bulbs last fall as part of a Journey North science project. Journey North, a free national program supported by Annenberg Media, involves tracking signs of spring in various parts of North America.

We were learning how weather affects flowers, student Jacob Counterman said.

His classmate, Coby Naughton, added the tulips were expected to bloom later in places where it stays colder.

Students in the project enter the dates their flowers emerge from the ground and bloom at the project s Web site so people in different parts of the world can compare their progress.

The Frank students also put stickers on a map of North America in their classroom: brown squares where tulips were planted, green triangles where they sprouted, and red circles where they bloomed.

The students noticed the flowers bloomed earlier on the East and the West coasts.

It s warmer by the ocean, and they get a lot of sunlight and water, Courtney Clody said.

The students were assigned three other cities and were supposed to estimate when the tulips would bloom there. Anya Kress said they were a week off for a city in Oregon, where the flowers bloomed on March 30.

Students used rulers to plant the bulbs 7 inches deep around the sign at the front of the school. The plants broke through the surface of the ground a few weeks ago, young Counterman said.

By the middle of last week, one tulip had bloomed at Frank Elementary and others sported buds. Teacher Kris Martz said the tulips at Toth were almost ready to bloom.

I thought it would be a good hands-on project, she said.

Like many science experiments, the project didn t go perfectly. Hannah Koralewski found her tulip s bud broken off the stem last week. That did give her a chance to examine the pistil.

Look at the flower before the sepal opens up! she said, showing the bud to her classmates.

Lucas Manning said all he knew about flowers before the project was how to plant them and dig holes.

I learned what glucose is, how it s their food, he said.

Mrs. Martz s students have done other activities in the Journey North program, including Mystery Class, in which they had to guess where 10 cities were given the times of their sunrise and sunset, and projects that studied the migration of robins, redwing blackbirds, and monarch butterflies.

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