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Bulb-blog

Baby bulb
Baby bulb

Use this blog to:

  • Ask Professor Plant any questions you may have.
  • Share interesting stories or photographs with other schools.
  • Once you send a message, Professor Plant will read it then publish it onto the website.

To be web safe:

  • We will not publish any childrens names.
  • When you leave a message, list the name of your school, then your comment will be posted as 'pupils from' and the 'name of your school'.
  • Always ask your teacher for permission before posting a message or a photograph.

SCAN

SCAN is an Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales project, which helps schools promote Education for Sustainable Development.

May 2015

Super Scientist Awards 2015

Posted by Penny Tomkins on 1 May 2015

One of a number of accurately drawn and labelled images sent in by Stanford in the Vale CE Primary School - Gardening Club. 

A bar chart sent in by The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School.

One hundred schools across the UK are to be awarded Super Scientist Certificates on behalf of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales in recognition for their contribution to the Spring Bulbs - Climate Change Investigation.

Huge Congratulations to all these schools!

A big ‘thank you’ to every one of the 5,539 pupils who helped this year! Thank you for working so hard planting, observing, measuring and recording - you really are Super Scientists! Each one of you will receive a certificate and Super Scientist pencil, these will be sent to your school by mid-May.

 Many thanks to the Edina Trust for funding this project.

 

Super Scientist Winners 2015

Well done to our three winners for their consistent weather data entries! Each will receive a class trip of fun-packed nature activities.

St. Brigid's School - Wales

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School - England

Winton Primary School - Scotland

 

Runner's up:

Betws Primary School

Carnforth North Road Primary School

Corsehill Primary School

St. Laurence Primary School

St. Michael's Primary School

St. Paul's Primary School

Wormit Primary School

 

Highly commended schools:

Balcurvie Primary School

Carnegie Nursery

Coleg Meirion Dwyfor

Coleg Powys

Eastfield Primary School

Fairlie Primary School

Freuchie Nursery

Gibshill Children's Centre

Greenburn School

Howwood Primary School

Keir Hardie Memorial Primary School

Kilmory Primary School

Maes-y-Coed Primary

SS Philip and James CE Primary School

St. Ignatius Primary School

St. Peter's CE Primary School

Wildmill Youth Club

Ysgol Bro Eirwg

 

Schools with special recognition:

Bancyfelin

Bickerstaffe CE Primary School

Binnie Street Children's Centre

Brodick Primary School

Carstairs Primary School

Coppull Parish Primary School

Dallas Road Primary School

Dyffryn Banw

Euxton Church of England Primary School

Garstang St. Thomas' CE Primary School

Guardbridge Primary School

Henllys CIW Primary

Kirkton Primary School

Llanharan Primary School

Morningside Primary School

Newport Primary School

Orchard Meadow Primary School

Pittenweem Primary School

Rhws Primary School

Rivington Foundation Primary School

Sacred Heart Primary and Nurseries

Skelmorlie Primary School

Stanford-in-the-Vale CE Primary School              

St Athan Primary

St Mellons Church in Wales Primary School

Trellech Primary School

Woodlands Primary School

Ynysddu Primary School

Ysgol Bryn Garth

Ysgol Deganwy

Ysgol Hiraddug

Ysgol Syr John Rhys

Ysgol Clocaenog

 

Schools to be awarded certificates:

Abbey Primary School

Albert Primary School

Arkholme CE Primary School

Baird Memorial Primary School

Balshaw Lane Community Primary School

Chapelgreen Primary School

Christ Church CP School

Chryston Primary School

Colinsburgh Primary School

Darran Park Primary

Fintry Primary School

Glencoats Primary School

Hafodwenog

Kilmacolm Primary School

Kings Oak Primary School

Llanishen Fach C.P School

Mossend Primary School

Our Lady of Peace Primary School

Preston Grange Primary School

Saint Anthony's Primary School

Silverdale St. John's CE School

St. Nicholas CE Primary School

St. Philip Evans RC Primary School

Swiss Valley CP School

Thorn Primary School

Tongwynlais Primary School

Torbain Nursery School

Townhill Primary School

Ysgol Bryn Coch

Ysgol Glan Conwy

Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn

Ysgol Nant Y Coed

Ysgol Pencae

Ysgol Rhys Prichard

Ysgol Tal y Bont

Ysgol Treferthyr

Ysgol Y Plas

Glyncollen Primary School

Rougemont Junior School

 

 

Thank you for all your hard work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

March 2015

Last Day of Weather Data Collection!!

Posted by Penny Tomkins on 27 March 2015

Thank you bulb buddies from Professor Plant and baby bulb!

Ysgol Bryn Coch's flowers.

Ysgol Bro Eirwg's plants.

Hello Bulb Buddies!

Today is the last day of weather data collection and the deadline for entering all of your data onto the National Museum Wales website! If you are having any trouble then please email me or leave comments when entering your data and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

If you have entered all of your weather data and the first flowering dates for your school then you will be awarded Super Scientist certificates from National Museum Wales and the Edina Trust. These are awarded in recognition of the skills you have developed in completion of the Spring Bulbs for Schools project. I would like to thank you all for taking part.

Well I am sad that this year’s project is coming to an end I am excited to start digging into the data to see if there are any patterns and trends and to compare this year’s results to previous years! I will send my findings to your school and post the report online by mid-May!

I hope that you have all enjoyed the project. Now that your data capture is complete you can analyse your records and compare your findings to those of other schools using the Map section of the website. You can then compare this to previous years by looking at last year’s report. I wonder if you will be able to predict the findings of this year’s report?

Remember, there are plenty of ways to develop your science skills. If you have enjoyed this project you could continue keeping weather records and share your findings on the Met Office WOW website. There are also plenty of science experiments to be found on education sites like the MET Office and BBC Bitesize.

If your plants haven’t flowered yet then you will still need to enter your flowering date on the National Museum Wales website. If your plant hasn’t flowered by the end of term then you could take it home for the holidays and log the date online when it does flower. Be sure to take your user name and password home with you too so that you can access the website!

Some of you reported that your flowers didn’t grow. I’m sorry to hear this because I know it is disappointing when an experiment doesn’t go as planned. This doesn’t mean that the experiment wasn’t a success! It is just as important and interesting to document when things don’t happen as when they do. For this reason it is important that you still log your findings on the NMW website. To do this log onto the ‘flower records’ section of the website and select ‘did not flower’ from the menu.

Watch this space for announcements on which schools are awarded Super Scientist certificates and which win a class Nature Trip!!

Thank you for all your hard work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

Comments and responses:

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: We made a bar chart of how high the crocus plants they are growing. Well they are tall. From F to professor plant. Prof P: Fantastic! Can you send me a picture of your graph? Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies.

Stanford in the Vale Gardening Club: Another week of recordings, we have had a mixture of sunny, cold and windy weather here, but still little rain! We became true scientists today watching the solar eclipse using buckets of water as a reflection. Our grounds are looking beautiful with the daffodils all in flower, swaying in the wind, and bright yellow in colour with the sun shining down on them! Pof P: What a lovely picture you paint of the daffodils! And what a fantastic way to have studied the eclipse! I didn’t think of using water, we were using a reflection method but with colanders and paper at the Museum. Keep up the good work Super Scientists.

Tongwynlais Primary School: My daffodil has still not grown. I think it has died Prof P: I’m sorry to hear that your plant hasn’t grown. Thank you for logging the information on the website, it is very important to the investigation. You really are a Super Scientist.

Coleg Powys: Sorry I sent the first measurement incorrectly. I thought it was in cm. The second measurement I have submitted is the correct one. Prof P: Thank you for spotting the mistake and rectifying it. I will delete the first entry. You are not the only one to make this mistake and we will add measurement information to the data entry page for next year!

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: All the crocus flowers opened this week except for mine! We have been busy measuring them. I hope mine will open soon, it is still quite small. Prof P: I’m glad to hear your plants have flowered and don’t worry I’m sure the last one won’t be long now!

Rivington Foundation Primary School: It was the highest its been on Wednesday and Thursday and on Friday we were on a school trip. Prof P: Wow Rivington Primary, your temperatures were high for Wednesday and Thursday! 30°c! Your thermometer must have been in direct sunlight and it must have been a very nice day! I hope you enjoyed the weather and your school trip.

Ysgol Clocaenog: Wedi cynhesu yma wythnos yma. Prof P: Helo Ysgol Clocaenog. Rwyf yn hapus i glywed bod y tywydd yn gwella!

Bickerstaffe CE Primary School: Daffodils in the pots have been a little later than the ones planted in the ground. We were surprised by this! We are going to select 2 pots that are at a similar stage and take one of them inside to see if it speeds up. We won't be able to keep the watering the same though - have you any suggestions? We thought about putting an 'umbrella' over the outdoor pot and not watering the one indoors? Professor P: Ooo this sounds like an exciting experiment Bickerstaffe Primary! Let me know how you get on and what your findings are! As for watering the plants, you really are thinking like Super Scientists by trying to keep all variables the same except for the one you are monitoring. This is very important to maintaining fair experiments. In this case, I wouldn’t worry about watering them exactly the same. You can keep them roughly the same by looking at how moist or dry the soil is in each pot and watering them accordingly. I think you will see a difference in the plants very quickly if your classroom is nice and warm!  

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: At last, my crocus finally flowered. It was the last one. From E. Prof P: I’m glad to hear all of your plants have flowered! Thank you for logging your flowering dates and heights.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Another dry week, since doing this very important investigation, we have noticed we have had very little rain this year. We would like to "Thank You" for allowing us to take part in this study, and we have really enjoyed finding out about the rain fall and taking daily temperature recordings, we spent a lovely afternoon eating ice-cream and drawing our daffodils ready to be judged! This week we have experienced sunshine, especially in the mornings, with winds picking up around lunch time! Stanford would like to wish you all a happy Easter. And we hope to take part in this investigation next year, as we are becoming experts in this field! Prof P: Hello Stanford in the Vale Primary, I should be thanking you for taking part in the project and for all your hard work! I’m glad to hear that you have enjoyed the project and that you will be applying for next year. I look forward to seeing your pictures if you are able to send them in, but the competition itself is not running this year! I will still post any pictures I receive on Twitter and on the Museum Blog. Happy Easter!

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: Nearly all our daffodils have flowered now. There is just one bud showing but 2 do not seem to have buds. The mystery plants are growing really well. I think they are daffodils but they are smaller than our daffodils. A and F. Prof P: Hello Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary. I’m glad to hear the mystery bulbs are growing, you are right, they are a different variety of daffodil! It’s strange that two of your daffodils don’t have buds. Could you send pictures to me? If these plants don’t flower then you can still log the details and height on the NMW website. But I’d wait a bit, they might surprise you!

Rivington Foundation Primary School: We had our first 2 flowers flower today one in the ground and one in the pot but we still have a lot more to go though. We think it took such a long time to flower because we have so many trees blocking out some of the sunlight. Prof P: Hi Rivington Foundation Primary, if your plants haven’t flowered before the holidays please take them home with you and log their flowering dates on the NMW website. If the trees were shading your plants from the sun this will have had an effect on their growth. Well done for thinking about what effects the environment is having on your plants - you really are Super Scientists.  

Ysgol Bro Eirwg: Bylbiau cudd! Rydyn ni'n credu mae cannin pedr bach sydd gennym ni! Prof P: Dda iawn Ysgol Eirwg. Maent yn amrywiaeth wahanol o gennin Pedr!

Coppull Parish Primary School: Yesterday we had strong winds. Unfortunately a wooden pallet blew onto our daffodil plot and damaged some of them before they flowered. Prof P: Hello Coppull Parish Primary. I’m sorry to hear that your plants have been damaged. If they don’t look like they will flower you can still log their heights on the Museum website and select ‘did not flower’ from the menu.

Ysgol Tal y Bont: At the end of the project we found 2 bulbs did not produce any flowers and 1 bulb produced a double flower. Prof P: Hi Ysgol Tal Y Bont. It’s interesting that some of your plants didn’t flower and exciting that one produced a double flower! Would you be able in send in pictures?

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: Thank you for letting us take the temperature and rainfall readings. We are going to miss doing it. Prof P: Hello Our Lady of the Peace Primary School. You can always apply to take part next year and continue developing the skills you have learnt from the project. You could also continue to take weather records and share them on the MET Office WOW website. Thank you for taking part and for all your hard work.

Only two weeks to go Bulb Buddies!

Posted by Penny Tomkins on 13 March 2015

If you look closely at this picture you can see that only one of my Daffodils has opened. The others are still mostly or completely covered by a protective layer called a spathe.

Hello Bulb Buddies,

Well, you have been busy! A further 78 flowering records have been entered this week bringing us to a total of 175 flowers!


For those of you still waiting for your flowers to bloom here are some helpful tips:

  1. Your plants have flowered when you can see all of their petals, without the outer casing that protects them while they are developing (see the picture to the right).
  2. Remember to measure in mm!
  3. Measure from the top rim of your plant pot to the highest point of your flower.
  4. Remember to record the date when you enter your flowering record on the National Museum Wales website!
  5. Please leave comments when you enter your records, this is your chance to tell me what you’ve liked or disliked about the project!
  6. Please send pictures! I have been able to share a few pictures posted by schools on Twitter. If your school doesn’t use Twitter maybe your teacher could email pictures to me!

There isn’t long to go now, only two more weeks of collecting and entering weather data!

Remember, the 27th of March is the deadline for entering all of your weather data. You must do this to achieve your Super Scientist certificates and be in for a chance of winning a museum nature trip!

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies

Professor Plant


Your comments:

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: We were very excited this week as there were lots of buds on our crocuses. The weather has been getting warmer and today the first crocus flowers opened in the sunshine and we had to measure them carefully, H and J. Prof P: Well done H and J! I hope you have enjoyed studying the development of your plants. There are other experiments you can do that demonstrate how your flowers respond to light and heat. I will send these to your teacher but you can also find them on the website under ‘Professor Plant’s investigation ideas’. Keep up the good work!

Rivington Foundation Primary School: On Monday we had snow! And on Thursday we were on a school trip. Prof P: Well Rivington Foundation Primary School, you’ve had quite an exciting week! And you still managed to document your weather records, thank you very much!

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Still no sign of bulbs in pots flowering yet, we think the ones in the ground are doing better, as the roots have more space to grow, unlike the pots which have restricted space! It’s lovely and sunny here today, with a good sunny forecast for the weekend. When we return to school on Monday we should hopefully start to see our bulbs flowering. Prof P: Hi Stanford in the Vale Primary, I’m pleased to hear that you are observing other plants and discussing the effects of environment on growth and development. I hope the sun over the weekend spurs on your plants, it shouldn’t be long now so watch them closely!

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: The bulb's still have not came out yet but one of them is almost out. Prof P: It shouldn’t be long now Our Lady of the Peace Primary! Watch the flower buds carefully to see how they open. The spathe will begin to split lengthways as the bud grows! If your teacher has a camera you might be able to take pictures that show the different stages of the bud flowering!

Thorn Primary School: We are very sorry but we were unable to submit plants data this week as there was building work taking place at school and we could not safely get to the thermometer and rain collector. We will be fine to collect our data this week. Prof P: Thank you for letting me know Thorn Primary School, and not to worry! I look forward to seeing your data next week.

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: My name is T and my flower was first to open. It was outside when it opened but when we brought it inside it opened even more. We were amazed. Even our teacher was amazed. Prof P: Hi T. I’m glad that you have been studying your plants so closely, they are fascinating things! Did you discuss why the flower reacted to being moved inside? I suspect your classroom was a lot warmer than the playground!!

Swiss Valley School: Hello how do we record the mystery bulbs please? Prof P: Hi Swiss Valley School. You can record the mystery bulbs flowering dates for your own records in the class room, but there is no need to record them on the NMW website. Schools that are taking part in the Edina Trust extension projects were given an extra 20 daffodil bulbs to plant in the ground, and those schools are asked to document the flowering dates for these on the Edina Trust website. This is so that they can compare the flowering dates of those in the ground to those in pots and think of reasons why these might be different. Have you noticed differences in the development of your mystery bulbs to your bulbs in pots? Can you think of reasons for this?

Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn: We enjoyed measuring them. Prof P: I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying the project Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn! Keep up the good work.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: All our crocus have flowered and they are looking so pretty. What a lovely week of warmer weather, and finally the rain came today, we are so in need of more rain.....we looked at the weather data as a group and noticed Oxfordshire have had little rain this year! Prof P: Hi Stanford in the Vale Primary. What a lovely post, and it’s nice to see a positive spin on rain! I’m glad that you are using the resources on the map to study readings from other schools! You can also use the Met Office WOW website to look at readings in other areas.

Daffodils for St David's Day

Posted by Penny Tomkins on 2 March 2015

Giant Daffodils at St Fagans National History Museum for St David's Day.

Flowers at Llanharan Primary School!

Daffodils and purple Crocus growing near National Museum Cardiff.

My plants!

Hello Bulb Buddies,

I hope you all had a fantastic St David’s Day yesterday!

St David’s Day (Dydd Gwyl Dewi) is a national holiday in Wales that celebrates St David (Dewi Sant), the patron Saint of Wales. This is a time when the history and traditions of Wales are celebrated. Traditional foods are prepared such as cawl/ lobscows and welshcakes, and traditional dress and Welsh emblems are worn. The Welsh emblems adorned on St David’s day include the leek (which is a symbol of St David) and the Daffodil. It is interesting that the Welsh word for Leek (Cennin) and Daffodil (Cennin Pedr) are very similar!

I thought it would be interesting for the schools in England and Scotland to see how important the Daffodil is in Wales. Did you celebrate St David’s Day? If not, are there other days that you do celebrate? You could let me know about these in the ‘comments’ section when you record this week’s weather data!

Have a look at the pictures attached!

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

February 2015

First flower dates!

Posted by Penny Tomkins on 27 February 2015
Main parts of a flower (from the BBC Bitesize website).

Here is a fantastic and clearly labelled picture that was sent to me last year:

Hello Bulb Buddies,

I have exciting news to report! We have had our first flower dates recorded on the website!

Congratulations to Ysgol Deganwy, who’s first Crocus flowered an the 21st of February at 90mm tall. Ysgol Tal Y Bont and Ysgol Bancyfelin who’s first Crocus's flowered on the 23rd of February at 65mm tall. And, Ynysddu Primary School who’s first Crocus flowered on the 25th of February at 50mm tall. They expect two more to flower any day now!

I have also had reports of even earlier flowering dates. Swiss Valley CP School report that some of their Crocus plants flowered over half term.

Silverdale St. John's CE School have reported that some of the Crocuses they planted in tyres have flowered. One is 110mm tall!

And today, via Twitter I received photographic evidence that Llanharan Primary School has at least two fully grown Crocus plants! They saw one of them open today!

Remember to enter your flower date and the height of your flower on the National Museum Wales website. But, only do this once the petals are fully visible and remember to measure the height in millimetres.

I would love some photos of the flowers for the Museum’s website and my Twitter page. Please ask your teachers to send these in to me if possible.

I would also like to see just how artistic you all are! So, I have an activity for you to do once your flowers have opened! I’d like you to draw a detailed picture of your plant and label all its different parts. This is a great way to get to know your flowers better, and to see just how complicated such small things can be. It’s also very interesting to compare the Daffodil and the Crocus, can you spot the similarities and differences? In many ways all flowers are very similar, even though at first glance they look completely different to one another!

Here is a fun game to do with labelling plants that I found on the BBC Bitesize website:

I look forward to seeing your photos and pictures.

Keep up the good work Bulb buddies,

Professor Plant

Your comments:

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: We had snow on Tuesday! Bitter cold all week. Prof P: Wow Stanford in the Vale Primary, you have had cold weather! -2 on Tuesday – burrr!

Rivington Foundation Primary School: Our daffodils in pots started sprouting last week, now between 1 and 4 cms. Daffodils in pots no sign yet. Probably too cold in the ground. Professor Plant: Hi Rivington Foundation Primary, I’m glad to hear your bulbs are sprouting! It is exciting to see how fast they grow once they start to show above the soil. Usually, the plants in the ground would grow first because they are slightly warmer than your plants in pots. But this depends on a number of things, such as how much frost you have had! I’m sure they will show themselves soon, maybe they are waiting for it to get a little warmer!


Chryston Primary School: Sorry but we were off for 3 days and sadly a bulb got squished because it is near the playground and a ball landed of top of it. The good news is the bulbs are starting to grow. Next week we will start recording the height of the bulbs. Prof P: Oh I am sorry to hear that you lost one of your bulbs! I hope you are all sharing so that no one is too upset – these things do happen! I’m glad to hear that your bulbs have started growing though! It’s interesting to document how quickly they grow, and to see that each one grows at its own pace!

Saint Anthony's Primary School: We are enjoying taking the measurements and are delighted at how well our bulbs are progressing. Prof P: Hi Saint Anthony’s Primary, I’m glad to hear you are enjoying the project. I very much enjoy studying all the weather records that are sent in. And I especially like receiving lovely comments that show me others enjoy this project as much as I do! Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies.

Glyncollen Primary School: We have had good fun so far doing spring bulbs investigation! Prof P: I’m glad you are enjoying the project Bulb Buddies! There are lots more experiments and investigations you can do if you are enjoying this one, why not have a look at the MET Office website for idea! 


Saint Anthony's Primary School: We have noticed that the temperatures have recently been rising and falling. Prof P: Hi Saint Anthony’s Primary, I’m glad to hear that you are studying and comparing your weather records. You have had a bit of a jump, from -2 on Wednesday to 11 on Thursday! Differences like this can result from taking readings at different times of day, as the temperature will be consistently lower in the morning than in the afternoon! This is why it’s important to always try to take the readings at around the same time. However, this can also result from changes in the weather. I’m guessing it was a lot sunnier and less cloudy on Thursday compared to the rest of the week!

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: We hope our bulbs flower soon. We enjoyed planting them. Prof P: I’m sure it won’t be long now Our Lady of Peace Primary! One of my Crocus plants is nearly big enough, but it will be a while yet before my other plants flower! Isn’t it interesting to see that all of our plants are developing differently even though we planted them on the same day!


Keir Hardie Memorial Primary School: We have started to see that our bulbs are starting to grow. Some of our bulbs during the extremely windy weather blew over and were nearly out of the plant box and plant pot. However, we have seen some growth in a number of our plant pots and are hoping they will grow further. For the other ones that had blew over, we replanted them just in case there is any hope. This was a few weeks ago so hopefully we will see some change. Prof P: Hi Keir Hardie Memorial Primary, you did the right thing by re-planting your bulbs. I have my fingers crossed that they will still grow for you! I’m glad to hear that some of your plants have started to grow and that you are monitoring them so closely. Keep up the good work!

Glyncollen Primary School: We have had a broken thermometer on Monday and Tuesday. Professor Plant: Hi Glyncollen Primary. I’m sorry that your thermometer wasn’t working. But I’m glad to see that you fixed it or got a new one, and that you still took your rain fall readings. Good work!  

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: Nearly all our bulbs have shoots now the weather is a bit warmer and the mystery bulbs have buds so it looks like we may have some flowers soon. E and O. Prof P: Ooo this is exciting! Once your mystery bulbs have flowered let me know what type of plant you think they might be! Keep up the god work!

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Another strange week with the weather....high winds, cold and heavy rain, then beautiful sunshine! Our plants in the ground look as if they could be showing signs of opening.....but the one in pots seem rather behind....so we are on constant watch! Kind Regards, Gardening Club. Prof P: Hi Stanford in the Vale Primary Gardening Club! I’m glad to hear that your plants are doing well, and that you are comparing the growth of the plants in the ground to the plants in pots. It’s very interesting that these are developing differently, can you think of reasons why this might be?

Glyncollen Primary School: Some of our spring bulbs are starting to grow and our crocus! Prof P: That’s good news Glyncollen Primary, keep a close eye on them now because they’ll grow quickly!

Your questions, my answers

Posted by Penny Tomkins on 13 February 2015

Your crocus flowers will be purple in colour with orange anther and stigma (the parts inside the flower).

Hi Bulb Buddies,

I’d like to wish you all a fantastic half term! Don’t worry about your plants over the holidays, they will be fine! But be sure to check on them as soon as you get back, because the crocus plants can flower anytime from January onwards and so we should be expecting more flowering dates very soon!

I’ve had another brilliant joke from L at Thorn Primary School:

Q. Why do you call beetroot beetroot?

A. Because you have to beat the root to get them out!!

And more schools have sent exciting updates on their plants:

Silverdale St. John's CE School: The daffodils are about 5cm tall and one of them is around about 8cm tall! Prof P: Fantastic news Silverdale St. John's CE School you must be looking after them very well!

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: This week is cold again with very frosty mornings, but we can now see some crocus shoots as well as the daffodils. The mystery bulbs have the tallest shoots. K M. Prof P: I’m excited that your Crocus plants have shown through. Isn’t it interesting how different the shoots look! Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!

Ysgol Nant Y Coed: It was a very dry week last week. Also, our daffodils are about 12-14cm tall now. Prof P: Wow Ysgol Nant Y Coed, make sure you keep a close eye on your plants! It doesn’t sound like it will be long now before you see your first flowers.

Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn: I like this job. Prof P: I’m glad to hear it! There are lots of other experiments you can try if you are enjoying this one. Try the MET Office website for some great ideas for half term: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/education/kids/things-to-do/experiments

Rivington Foundation Primary School: We think that the temperature on Tuesday,Thursday and Friday was because the sun was hitting straight on to the thermometer. Prof P: Wow Rivington Foundation Primary! What high readings for week 6! That shows summer weather in February! Well done for spotting that this is unusual and questioning why your readings are so high. I think you are right and it must be because your thermometer was in the sun and you took the readings at the warmest time of day! I suggest that you turn the thermometer slightly so it is not in direct sunlight. This will give you more accurate readings. You are well on your way to becoming Super Scientists!!

Carstairs Primary School: Unfortunately we are unable to take the temperature because our temperature monitor has went missing with all of the snow. Prof P: Wow, that must be a lot of snow you are having Carstairs Primary School! Thank you for taking the rain fall readings despite the wintery weather! I see these were high all week, did you have to take the rain gauge inside to melt the snow before taking your readings?

Hi Kirkton Primary School. Just to let you know that you’ve had the coldest weather reported so far for week 6 at -6ÌŠ!! Brrrrr!! And Thorn Primary School had the second warmest reading of week 6 at 13ÌŠ. I wonder how this will affect your plants! I’ll be watching both of your weather records and flowering dates with interest to compare!

Enjoy the holidays Bulb Buddies!!

Professor Plant

Winter to Spring

Posted by Penny Tomkins on 9 February 2015

Snowdrops at St Fagans National History Museum.

Hi Bulb Buddies,

I’d like to share a few pictures with you. Remember, if you ask your teacher to send pictures of your plants to me I can share them with other schools involved in the project! I’m especially interested in pictures that show the change of seasons, like spring flowers submerged in winter snow!

A wintery spider web at the National Roman Legion Museum

Daffodils at St Fagans National History Museum. Can you tell which plants have buds and which have flowers?

There has been some confusion over when to enter your flowering dates online. You can monitor how tall your plants are growing each week and let me know in the ‘comments’ section when you enter your weekly weather records. But the ‘flowering date’ and the height of your plant on the day it flowers are to be entered on the NMW website only once the flower has opened. 

Look at the picture above of Daffodils at St Fagans National History Museum. This picture was taken on a cold day, so the flowers haven’t fully opened. But, you can still tell which ones have flowered by looking closely at the picture. If you can clearly see all of the petals then your plant has flowered. Before flowering the petals are held tight in a protective casing and look like this: 

This is a flower bud.

This is a flower bud. Once the flower has matured inside the bud (and the weather is warm enough) the casing will begin to open. This can take a few hours or a few days! If you watch your plants carefully you might see this happening! Once you can see all of your petals and the casing isn’t restricting them at all you can measure the flowers height and enter your findings on the website. Once you have done this a flower will appear on the Map showing where your school is!

You can practice measuring the height of your plants to see how quickly they grow. If your plants are still small you can measure from the top of the soil. But, when you come to take the final reading to enter on the website we ask that you measure from the top rim of your plant pot to the highest point of your flower.

Have you compared the heights of the flowers in your class? Are there big differences in the size and maturity of the plants, or are they all very similar? What about the plants planted in the ground? Are these any bigger than the ones in your plant pots? Why do you think this is? You can let me know your thoughts in the ‘comments’ section when you enter your weekly weather records!

Once the bulbs start to grow send your stories and pictures to our bulb-blog and follow Professor Plant on Twitter

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!

Professor Plant

P.S. Don’t worry if your bulbs haven’t sprouted yet. It’s still early days and I’m sure it won’t be long! Mine haven't all shown above the soil yet...

My Daffodils and Crocus are growing too!!

Your questions, my answers

Posted by Penny Tomkins on 4 February 2015

Thank you bulb buddies from Professor Plant and baby bulb!

Hello Bulb Buddies,

I would like to share a humorous rhyme from R at Thorn Primary School: "If I was a dog and you were a flower I’d lift my leg and give you a shower!"

Thorn Primary School: What happens to the plants after they have flowered? Do they die? Prof P: Hi Thorn Primary School. This is a very important question. Your bulbs won’t die after they have flowered! The leaves of your plant make food and the roots absorb water. When your flower dies the bulb stores all remaining food and water inside itself ready for next Autumn. Your teacher has information on how to care for your bulbs after your flowers die, and I will blog about it closer to the time. But this won’t happen until the end of Spring – so enjoy your flowers while they are here!

Skelmorlie Primary School: This week we have had a lot of snow and sleet in our weather. It has been really cold so we have had to look out for ice when we are playing too. In our water gauge this week, there was around 13 mm of water and 37 mm of ice/snow. Prof P: Hi Skelmorlie Primary School. I’m glad to hear you are being careful when you are outside, the weather can cause dangerous conditions! I’m assuming you melted the 37mm of snow to 13mm of water. Was there less water than you thought there would be? This is because water expands when it freezes and evaporates when it heats! I’d like to thank you for all the weekly comments you have sent me – you are definitely Super Scientists!

St. Ignatius Primary School: Professor Plant we missed some recordings this week due to the bad weather here. Our teacher decided it was not safe enough for us to go out and collect the recordings. Today we had a big piece of ice in our rainfall gauge so if that melted our rainfall would be more. The raifall gauge was also this full as it includes the 3 days we didn't take recordings. St. Ignatius Primary 4. Prof P: Hello St Ignatius Primary 4. Not to worry about missing some recordings due to bad weather – if it’s icy it’s better to stay warm and safe! As for the block of ice, you are not the only school to have had this problem. If this happens again please take your rain gauge inside and wait for the ice to melt. Then record the water level as rain fall on your weather chart!

Morningside Primary School: We brought our rain gauge in on Monday as it was full of snow and let it melt before we took the measurement. Prof P: Well done Morningside Primary School, you really are Super Scientists! I hope you enjoyed the experiment. I always try to guess how much water there will be when the ice melts!  Other schools have had the chance to do this experiment too, including Corshill Primary School.

Chryston Primary School: We are terribly sorry that we could not finish our records last week. We have been very busy with our Scottish afternoon and the weather here has been horrible. Hopefully we will finish our records next week. Prof P: Not to worry Chryston Primary School. Scottish afternoon sounds exciting! I hope you had a good week!

Thorn Primary School: We had lots of snow this week as well as lots of ice! We have no recording for Thursday as our school was closed due to the ice making it unsafe for staff and children to arrive. Prof P: Not to worry Thorn Primary School, other schools were unable to complete their records due to bad weather too! And lots of schools have reported snow, including: Woodlands Primary School, St. Brigid's School, Ysgol Hiraddug, Abbey Primary School, Manor Road Primary School, Rivington Foundation Primary School, Bickerstaffe CE Primary School and Balshaw Lane Community Primary School.

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: It has been very windy,snowy and icy. Two girls fell today at playtime and lunchtime on the ice and hurt themselves. It snowed last Tuesday and Wednesday. The two girl that fell are the girls that wrote this. Prof P: Hello, I’m sorry to hear you fell on the ice! I hope you weren’t badly hurt! I hope children at other schools take note and that everyone is extra careful when outdoors in this weather!

Ysgol Y Plas: Dear professor plant I thought you would like to know that nineteen bulbs in the flower bed have been growing and sixteen in the pots have started as well. From C. Prof P: Hi C, that’s great news! Other schools have reported new shoots too, including Skelmorlie Primary School!

Tongwynlais Primary School: We have no rain records for monday and tuesday as a few of our fellow pupils have been playing with our rain gage. We hope we can collect more accurate measurements next week. Prof P: Thank you for letting me know TongwynlaisPrimary School. Other schools have been having problems with their rain gauges too. Including Euxton Church of England Primary School whose rain gauge has been repeatedly knocked over by football players! They have found a new location for their rain gauge now.

Darran Park Primary: I have got a new friend doing this job now - he enjoys doing it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Prof P: Haha, well I’m guessing that not everyone at Darran Park Primary is enjoying this project! I hope your new friend can show you how much fun science can be and that you come to enjoy the project as much as he does!

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: It has been really icy in the mornings but the daffodil shoots are getting taller. F. Prof P: Good to know F. You must be looking after them very well!

Bancyfelin: 1 mm of snow fell on Thursday 29th of January. This means that 4mm of rain + 1mm of snow fell on this day. Prof P: Well done Bancyfelin. I assume you measured the snow using snow sticks? I see you recorded 4mm of rain, so I assume the snow melted in your rain gauge!

Baird Memorial Primary School: We are surprised by the changes that occurred within the temperature side of things. The changes were dramatic. Prof P: Hi Baird Memorial Primary School. You are right, there is quite a jump in your temperature readings from -1°c on Thursday to 11°c on Friday! This shows how temperamental the weather can be. Drops in temperature are often caused by cold winds, clouds and precipitation (rain and snow).

Ysgol Nant Y Coed: We enjoyed doing we like doing it very much its so FUN!!!! This is are last time doing it :(wahhhhhhhh we wish we could do it again-S and A. Prof P: Hi S & A! I’m glad you are enjoying the project and I hope you have learnt a lot! There are other scientific experiments you can take part in. I’m guessing its someone else’s turn to take the temperature and rain fall readings for this project now. But you could easily do a similar experiment at home! The MET Office have a Weather Observation Website (WOW) where they ask people to document temperature reading from their area. This information then helps Meteorologists to build a clearer picture of weather patterns across the UK. You can take part here: http://wow.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/manual .

Ysgol Clocaenog: Heddiw, rydym wedi gweld bod ein cennin pedr yn dechrau tyfu. Mae cennin pedr K wedi tyfu 1.5cm. Mae rhai ohonynt dal heb ddechrau eto. Athro'r Ardd: Wel, rwy'n falch o glywed bod eich Cennin Pedr wedi cychwyn tyfu. Mae'n swnio fel bod bwlb K yn tyfu yn gyflym iawn! Daliwch ati gyda'r gwaith da Ysgol Clocaenog!

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!!

Professor Plant

January 2015

The changing seasons

Posted by Penny Tomkins on 30 January 2015

Earth on it's axis (from BBC Bitesize website)

Hello Bulb Buddies,

I’d like to thank those of you who sent in your weather data last week. And especially those of you who sent in jokes, keep them coming!

Some of the comments this week noted that the weather is getting warmer and that the days are getting longer. For this reason I thought it would be interesting to talk a bit about the seasons!

There are four seasons in the year. Winter, spring, summer and autumn. We are still in winter, which is the coldest season.

Spring starts around 20th March (the Spring Equinox) and is when we see most flowers bloom, the weather gets warmer, and many animals have their young. Lambs in the fields are a good sign that spring has arrived!

The summer comes in full force from June to September, and is when we have the warmest weather and the longest daylight hours. Luckily for you it’s also when you get your longest school holidays!

Autumn takes hold from late September, and this is when the days become shorter and the weather begins to get colder! This is when the leaves turn colour to oranges, reds and browns and fall from the trees. And when animals like squirrels hoard food for the long winter ahead. Winter arrives again in December, and stays until mid-March.

Do you know why we get seasons? What causes the weather to change so dramatically throughout the year? Well, it’s because the Earth is turning around the Sun at an angle. The picture below shows the earth in relation to the sun. The earth turns (rotates) on its axis (imagine a line joining the North and South poles) as it moves around (orbits) the Sun.

It takes the Earth 365 days to travel once around the sun. The length of a planets year is the time it takes for it to complete one orbit of its star. So a year on Earth is measured as the passing of 365 days. 

The Seasons (from the BBC Bitesize website)

The picture above shows the Earth’s rotation around the Sun. The axis is shown by the red line at the North and South poles. You can see that the axis (red line) is at a different angle to the Earth’s orbit (the dotted line). This means that each day we are at a slightly different angle to the Sun than we were the day before. This is what causes a difference in the number of daylight hours we get. Fewer daylight hours (winter) means less light and heat, making this time of the year colder. More daylight hours (summer) means more light and heat, which makes it warmer!

The UK is in what is known as the ‘North hemisphere’, this means we are closer to the North Pole than the South Pole. Notice that in the picture the North pole (the red line pointing up) is leaning towards the Sun in the June and away from the sun in the December. This angle is what causes the change in daylight hours as the Earth orbits the sun over the course of the year.

Other countries experience the changes in daylight hours at different times of the year. In Australia it is summer in December! And in Iceland they have sunlight for days in a row in the summer and darkness for as long in the winter! Imagine the sun being out at midnight!

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

The Big Garden Birdwatch

Posted by Penny Tomkins on 23 January 2015

Starlings (picture from RSPB website)

Hello Bulb Buddies,

There is an exciting scientific survey being conducted this weekend, and your help is needed! It’s called the Big Garden Birdwatch and is organised by the RSPB, a conservation charity that help to look after our wildlife. You can help by registering online here: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/ and downloading an information pack. You then spend one hour this weekend documenting the birds that visit your garden or a green space near your home. The information pack on the RSPB website has a guide to help you identify the birds! Then, upload your findings to the RSPB website so that they can feed into the nationwide survey of bird populations, aimed at providing an insight into how our feathery friends are doing in the wild!

The Big Garden Birdwatch has been running since 1979! You can find out about previous results here: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/previous-results/ . An annual, nationwide survey is a fantastic way to spot changes in bird populations. This is important, because if we know that numbers of a certain bird are dwindling, we can start to look at why this is happening and make changes that will help those birds to survive. An example of this is the Starling. The Big Garden Birdwatch has shown an 80% decrease in the Starling population since 1979. The RSPB has been raising awareness of what we can do to help these birds, such as keeping the grass in parts of our gardens short so that Starlings can more easily reach the grubs and insects they feed on near the roots of the grass.

Starling in the winter (picture courtesy of the RSPB website).

Here are some ideas on how to attract birds to your garden: http://www.rspb.org.uk/news/387868-top-10-bird-feeding-tips-this-winter . And some fun, bird-related activities: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/family-fun/ .

St Fagans National History Museum and National Museum Cardiff will be hosting Big Garden Birdwatch activities this weekend! If you want to be involved here are links to the What’s On guides for more details:

Cardiff         St Fagans

 

I’d like to send a big thank you to those of you who sent your weather data in last week. I’m looking forward to this weeks data and finding out whether it has been warmer or colder and how many of you have had snow or hail!! Remember, if you send all your data in and let me know online when your plants have flowered, then you will receive Super Scientist awards and be in for a chance to win a Nature Trip!

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!

Professor Plant

  • National Museum Cardiff

    National Museum Cardiff

    Discover art, natural history and geology. With a busy programme of exhibitions and events, we have something to amaze everyone, whatever your interest – and admission is free!

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    St Fagans

    St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open-air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction.

  • Big Pit National Coal Museum

    Big Pit

    Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. With facilities to educate and entertain all ages, Big Pit is an exciting and informative day out.

  • National Wool Museum

    National Wool Museum

    Located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, the Museum is a special place with a spellbinding story to tell.

  • National Roman Legion Museum

    National Roman Legion Museum

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  • National Slate Museum

    National Slate Museum

    The National Slate Museum offers a day full of enjoyment and education in a dramatically beautiful landscape on the shores of Llyn Padarn.

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    National Waterfront Museum

    The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years.

  • Rhagor: Explore our collections

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