National Science and Engineering Week
Yesterday, Natural Sciences Staff took part in the 'Meet the Pollinators' Event run by First Campus, a partnership between higher education institutions, further education colleges and schools in South East Wales. The event was part of National Science and Engineering Week and was attended by approximately 100 Year 9 pupils from six schools. The pupils had the opportunity to speak to the curators and find out about 'a day in the life of museum scientists'.
So many flowers!
Which schools have had their first flowers?
St Bernadette’s Primary School in Scotland and Abergwili VC Primary, Darran Park Primary, Henllys CIW Primary, Llanishen Fach CP School, Ysgol Bro Tawe and Ysgol Gynradd Dolgellau in Wales, have all seen their first flowers open. In England, Balshaw Lane Community Primary School, Dallas Road Community School, Golden Hill School, Holy Trinity CE Primary School, Manor Road Primary School, Red Marsh School, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, St Michaels CE (Aided) Primary School, St Nicholas Primary School and The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School all sent their first flower records. Well done to all these schools!
Only 2 weeks to send me your records
Will you be a Super Scientist this year? The deadline for sending in your records is 28 March. If you send me your weather and flower records (if they have opened) then you will be a Super Scientist! All Super Scientists will receive a Certificate and a fabulous Super Scientist pencil. You will also have the chance to win a Nature Activity trip or some seeds to grow your own Sunflowers!
Why not send me your drawings for the Daffodil Drawing Competition? The deadline is also 28 March. For this competition I will be looking for botanical illustrations – these are pictures of plants drawn in a scientific way. Please send me your lovely drawings, but I would also like them to have clear labels to show the different parts of the Daffodil. You can follow this link to see the winners and runners up from last year’s competition. Winners will get a bird watching kit with mini binoculars for their class, runners up will get flower seeds to grow!
My plants in pots have still not flowered, but over at St Fagans National History Museum the crocuses growing in their garden look beautiful. The bees like them too, as you can see in the photo! Can you see that the bumblebee has yellow pollen all over its head and body? When it flies off to a different crocus it will pass the pollen on – this is how flowers are fertilised!
Your questions, my answers:
Raglan VC Primary: Still no sign of the flowers this week! We are having some good weather. Prof P: Don’t worry Raglan School, mine haven’t flowered yet either. Hopefully the good weather will help our plants to flower.
Cutteslowe Primary School: Monday 17th - school closed, no heating or hot water. Prof P: Brrrr that sounds very chilly.
Manor Road Primary School (Lancashire): One of are crocus bulbs are starting to flower. Prof P: Fantastic news Manor Road, Congratulations!
Chatelherault Primary School: Wk 10: Most of our plants have started to too grow. It has raining a lot and some snow. Prof P: We didn’t have any snow at all in Cardiff this year, but we did have lots of rain.
The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: It has been so exciting this week as the buds all suddenly started to appear and on Friday some crocus flowers opened! The daffodils have suddenly grown and we know it won't be long before they too flower. They just love the sunshine! Prof P: Hooray! It’s such a lovely feeling to see your flowers open isn’t it?
Greyfriars RC Primary School: S - ten of our crocuses have budded. Prof P: Great news S. at Greyfriars, I’m sure the other crocuses won’t be far behind.
Dallas Road Community Primary School: Super Fun!!! Prof P: I’m so glad you think so Dallas Road! Science IS Super Fun!
The 1st flower records for Scotland!
Congratulations to Ladywell Primary School for sending in the first flower records for Scotland! Lakeside Primary School in Wales have also sent in their first flower records – their first crocus and first daffodil opened in the same week! Great work bulb buddies.
Three weeks to go… The deadline for sending in your weather and flower records is Friday 28 March, so there are just three weeks to go!
If you have been keeping records but haven’t sent them to me yet then please send them soon – all your weather and flower records are really important to me! Every record you send in will make the Spring Bulbs Investigation better and more accurate.
Don’t worry if your flowers haven’t opened yet, a lot can happen in three weeks, especially if the sun shines!
Would you like to do a Super Scientific Investigation with your plants? I have put together some great ideas for experiments you can do in your school! Can you trick your crocus? Can your daffodil move? Click here to have a look: Professor Plant’s investigation ideas. As well as exciting experiments you will also find my favorite Spring Poem here! It is about daffodils and this is the first verse:
I wander’d lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
By William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Beautiful! Have you ever tried to write a poem about Spring? Or about your favourite flower? Why not give it a go?
Your questions, my answers:
Ladywell Primary School: We have had our computer system upgraded in school and it has been difficult for us to send weekly weather reports because we lost a lot of data which was stored on our apple mac and which we cant convert to PC. However we have been taking temperatures and it has not really been cold and we have had a lot of rain. Some of our plants didn't grow very well but our first daffodil opened today 25th February and it is 28 cm tall. We have another one about to open and some others not far away. We hope this is ok with you and we will send more information soon. Prof P: Sorry to hear you have had computer trouble Ladywell School, don’t worry, I completely understand. Thanks very much for sending your first flower record! Keep up the good work and send in your other flower records when they open.
Lakeside Primary: Daffodil comment: Only one is open and the one that has opened has only got half a pot of compost, we think it was knocked over and some soil lost so perhaps less soil has led to quicker flowering, but why? Prof P: Great question Lakeside! Do you have any ideas? This is my theory: A bulb closer to the surface may flower sooner because it warms up quicker and has less soil to push through when it starts to grow. So why don’t we plant them all close to the surface? Well, if there is a very cold winter the frost can damage bulbs that are too close to the surface, and then they may not grow at all.
The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: We all brought our wellies into school this week so that we can go out and look at our bulbs whatever the weather. We went to check on them all on Friday and measured how tall the leaves were, and started recording them in a table like we had been doing in maths. We hope to do this every week now then we can make a graph of the results. Still no sign of flowers yet! Prof P: What a fantastic idea! I love making graphs, they are a great way to see what the numbers are telling me. You must be very dedicated scientists to bring your wellies in to school so you can measure your leaves. Well done, I am very impressed!
Signs of Spring
The sun is shining through my window here in Cardiff and it feels like Spring has arrived! My own plants are not ready to flower yet, my tallest daffodil is 80mm tall and my crocus is still only 30mm tall, but I am sure they will like the sunshine! I took a photo this morning of daffodils and crocuses blooming in Bute Park, Cardiff, aren’t they beautiful?
Which schools have had their first flowers?
Ysgol Glan Cleddau in Wales has reported their first crocus has opened, and Archbishop Hutton's Primary School in England have reported that their first daffodil has opened! Congratulations and well done for sending in your records.
Rougemont Junior School in Wales sent me this message: Well Professor Plant great excitement here at Rougemont School ... our MYSTERY BULBS have started to flower! They look very healthy, shorter in stem than the other Daffodil bulbs that we planted too. We think they could be Narcissus maybe Tete a tete? Will send a photo soon.
Prof. P: That is very exciting Rougemont School, and well done for investigating what kind of Narcissus they might be – Great work! I look forward to seeing your photos.
And Kilmaron Special School in Scotland said: THIS IS AN OBSERVATION OF LAST YEARS BULBS. We have been monitoring last years crocus and daffodil bulbs to see if older bulbs flower before newly planted bulbs. After our 1/2 term holiday we came back to find the crocus bulbs planted in the pots from last year had opened while this years crocus bulbs look to be about 7-10 days behind in their flowering. We are expecting to post this years results towards the end of next week.
Prof. P: This is really excellent monitoring and investigating Kilmaron! I am very impressed. You are right that older bulbs usually flower sooner than new baby bulbs, one reason for this is that they have had an extra year to grow and store up food.
I wonder where flowers will open next? You can see where flowers have opened so far by looking at this map. If your flowers haven’t opened yet then watch them closely as they may open very soon!
Remember to send me you flower records as soon as your flowers open. To remind yourself what to do, please use my PowerPoint presentation how to keep flower records, and read the What and when to record page on my website.
- Every pupil in the class can send in their flower record! All the data that is sent in is used to create an average flowering date for each school. Watch the crocus chart and daffodil chart to see the tables change as the data comes in. It is really important that each pupil sends in their record - so the website can calculate the average flowering date for your school.
- Daffodils tilt their heads downwards just before opening. This prevents them from filling with rain after they open.
- You need to all send in your flower records to win the Super Scientist Competition!
Your questions, my answers:
Ysgol Terrig: It snowed heavily on Monday morning and stopped about lunch time. Our bulbs are starting to grow :) Prof P: I’m glad your bulbs are growing, did you go out to play in the snow?
Raglan VC Primary: We missed Tuesday because it was raining cat's and dog's, and we had bike training. Prof P: I love that saying! Can you imagine what it would be like if it really did rain cats and dogs? How would we measure that in our rain gauge?
Chatelherault Primary School: Sorry we did not record information on Thursday because we were away all day at a school trip. We were excited to see little green shoots in some of the plants. Prof P: Thanks for letting me know Chatelherault, I hope you had fun on your school trip.
Greyfriars RC Primary School: The plants are growing well and it's wonderful seeing them grow up. The mystery bulbs are really a mystery. from A and A :) Prof P: I hope your mystery will soon be solved Greyfriars!
Arkholme CE Primary School: Unfortunately the plant pots are standing in water this week. Let's hope next week is drier. The mystery bulbs are growing better than the others. Flower buds just appearing. From H. Prof P: I am sure your plants will survive the rain Arkholme, keep watching those flower buds!
Rain, rain and more rain
What a very wet and rainy January we had bulb buddies! It felt like it rained nearly every day! But how much rain did we really have compared to average?
Weather Scientists at the Met Office have created this map of the U.K. to show how much rain we had in January. You can have a closer look by following this link.
How did they calculate average rainfall? The Met Office Scientists have been keeping weather records for a very long time! They added up how much rain fell in January for 30 years (from 1981 to 2010) then divided by 30 to calculate how much rain fell on average each year.
Can you see the two different shades of dark blue? Rainfall in these areas was between two and three times the average for January. Can you see the black areas in the south of England and in eastern Scotland? Rainfall in these areas was more than three times the average for January!
Top tip for using this map:
- 100% of average means that the rain was the same as average.
- 200% of average means that there was twice as much rain as average.
Can you find where you live on the map? What colour is the map where you live? How much rain fell in your area? Is it more than average? Or less than average? You may want to ask your teacher to help you answer these questions!
Your questions, my answers:
Gladestry C.I.W. School: Our school was closed on Thursday because of a power cut so our head teacher recorded the results that day. Prof P: We done to your head teacher! I am very glad your head teacher is helping you with your investigation.
St Mellons Church in Wales Primary School: Hello Professor Plant. It has been so windy this week that our thermometer has blown off the wall and broken. We have been using the car thermometer. L, J and L-b. Prof P: Hello L, J and L-b at St Mellons School! I am very sorry to hear that your thermometer is broken, I will email your teacher and arrange to send you a new one. Well done for your quick thinking in using the car thermometer.
Bleasdale CE Primary School: It is very cold and wet. Prof P: I agree BleasdaleSchool!
Ysgol Gynradd Dolgellau: Yn anffodus mae ein thermometr wedi torri ar ol cael ei chwythu gan y gwynt mawr yn ystod yr wythnos. Athro’r Ardd: Trueni mawr i glywed hyn Ysgol Gynradd Dolgellau. Bydda i’n e-bostio eich athro i drefnu anfon thermomedr newydd atoch chi.
Manor Road Primary School (Lancashire): on Wednesday there was a red weather warning but luckily the plants stayed in place. Prof P: I’m very happy to hear that your plants are okay!
Stanford in the Vale Primary School: It is very rainy here but we are not flooded. Prof P: I am very glad to hear that Stanford! What colour is the rainfall map is your area?
Burscough Bridge Methodist School: The heavy gales have caused the rainfall measurements to be unreadable as the measuring vessel was continually disrupted and blown over. Prof P: Gosh it must have been very stormy. Thanks for letting me know, keep up the good work!
1st flower records for England and Wales!
Fantastic news bulb buddies, we have our first flower records!
Carnforth North Road Primary School in Lancashire, England were the first school to send in flower records. Their first crocus opened on the 4 February.
Raglan VC Primary School in Monmouthshire, Wales were the first Welsh school to send in flower records. Their first crocus opened on 7 February.
Well done to both these schools for sending in your flower records!
Archbishop Hutton's Primary School in England have also reported that the crocuses that they have planted in the ground have started to flower. Plants in the ground often flower sooner than ones in pots, has anyone else noticed this?
These flower records are much earlier than last year, when the first crocuses were reported on the 1 March. Why do you think this might be?
If we look at the results from the Spring Bulbs Project in previous years, flowering has been earlier in years with higher rainfall, warmer temperatures and more hours of sunshine. Why not have a think about what the weather has been like where you live? Do you think this year’s weather will help your flowers to grow?
Your questions, my answers:
Ysgol Terrig: Our bulbs are now growing above the soil. Prof P: Fantastic new Ysgol Terrig, hopefully it won’t be long until you start to see flowers.
Glyncollen Primary School: we are very exited because are bulbs are going to open soon. next week we are going to measure them. Prof P: Great investigating Glyncollen, have fun with your measuring.
Manor Road Primary School (Lancashire): It rained a lot and it was very cold and windy. It has not been minus yet. Prof P: I haven’t recorded a minus temperature in Cardiff either.
Stanford in the Vale Primary School: We have had alot of rain recently but the bulbs continue to grow bigger and bigger. Prof P: It certainly has been very very rainy, I hope you haven’t had any flooding.
Greyfriars RC Primary School: Me and D. are watering the plants really well. We enjoyed it alot. D: I am really enjoying the bulbs. My one is called xdox and pop. It was supposed to be xbox and pop. Thank you enjoyed this week. Prof P: What funny names for your plants! Very imaginative.
Freuchie Primary School: The children were really excited on Monday 27th January when they realised that 40mm of water had been collected over the weekend! Prof P: Wow - that really is a lot of rain!
Woodplumpton St. Anne's Primary School: We are very excited because the first shoots are beginning to appear. It has been very wet but so far the temperature has not dropped below zero. We wonder if this is unusual. Prof P: Great question Woodplumpton! I have had a look back over our weather data for previous years and it looks like this is not that unusual. The average daytime temperature for the month has only dropped below zero once in the 8 years we have been running the Spring Bulbs investigation. This was in December 2011 when there was heavy snow. I do think it has been less cold this January than in previous years. I look forward to receiving the weather data from all the schools so I can compare all the data in my Spring Bulbs Report!
Newport Primary School: Horrible wet weather most of the week. Prof P: The trouble with the rain is that it gets in the way of playtime doesn’t it?
Manor Road Primary School (Lancashire): The weather has been cold, wet and windy this week. We have spotted our first shoots peeping through in our pots though. Prof P: It seems like your bulbs don’t mind the wet weather too much.
Chatelherault Primary School: Bad news some people have been pulling out our bulbs but some are growing. And we have had a lot of rain and sun. Prof P: Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that someone has disturbed your bulbs. I hope that the ones that are left will be okay. Sun and rain are the perfect combination to make them grow!
Big Garden Bird Watch
Last weekend was RSPB’s annual Big Garden Bird Watch, the world’s largest bird survey! On Saturday I joined in the fun by making fat ball birdfeeders with some of the visitors to the museum. Inspired by the Big Garden Bird Watch, I spent a little time this week in the bird hide at St Fagans. Here are a few photos of what I saw…
Did you take part? What birds you see in your garden? Remember to report your findings to the RSPB - Big Garden Bird Watch
Keep in touch with the wildlife at St Fagans by following on Twitter
Little Tiny Shoots
Hi bulb buddies
How are your bulbs getting on? Remember to watch them closely as from January onwards you may start to see little green shoots pushing up through the soil – it’s very exciting when they first appear! I was so happy when I went outside this week and saw these little tiny shoots in my plant pots – they are so lovely!
Archbishop Hutton's Primary School sent me this message: A. and J. came running to tell me that our first crocuses have appeared over the weekend and we have taken some photos of them.
That’s fantastic news! Well done A. and J.! I am really glad you are so excited about your plants. I would love to see your photos, maybe you could email them to me?
I hope you are all enjoying your investigation bulb buddies. When your plants start to peep through the soil, why don’t you take some photos too? If you email them to me I will put them on this blog.
WHAT TO DO NEXT…
- Keep up the great work sending in your weather reports.
- Watch for your first shoots to arrive.
- Keep watching every day as they grow taller.
- When you flowers open - celebrate!! Then record the date and how high the plant is.
- Send me your Flower Records on the website.
Please use my Power Point presentation to find out how to keep flower records.
Your questions, my answers:
Ysgol Bro Eirwg: Blwyddyn Newydd Dda Athro’r Ardd! Ar ôl y gwyliau roedd y casglydd glaw yn llawn, felly methu cymryd darlleniad cywir. Arthro’r Ardd: Blwyddyn Newydd Dda Ysgol Bro Eirwg! Diolch am roi gwybod i fi am eich problemau mesur glaw, bydda i’n nodi hyn. Peidiwch â phoeni, digwyddodd hyn i lawer o ysgolion oherwydd iddi fwrw cymaint o law dros y gwyliau.
Cawthorne's Endowed Primary School: Im sorry we missed Friday we still want to go to Wales!!! Please wish us luck in Manchester. Prof P: Wishing you lots and lots of luck with your Spring bulbs Cawthorne School! Just wanted to let you know that if you are an English School and you win the Super Scientist Prize, we will arrange a day out for you in England instead of you travelling to Wales. It will still be a Super fun day, I promise.
Woodplumpton St. Anne's Primary School: sorry we forgot to take readings on two days - our teacher was not in school to remind us. There was a lot of rain over the holidays! We were surprised the temperatures were as high as they were. It felt colder. We talked about wind chill. Prof P: You are doing a great job and I am very pleased to hear you have talked about wind chill, it can make us feel VERY cold, can't it? Brrrrr.
The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: When we came back from our Christmas break the rainfall gauge was overflowing as nobody had been able to empty it over the holidays. The ground is getting very wet and muddy and we have to be careful collecting the information. Prof P: Be careful in the mud! We don't want any accidents, were you wearing your school shoes or your wellies?
Raglan VC Primary: Extreme rainfall on Wednesday evening. Prof P: There has been some very extreme weather recently Raglan, you are right!
Llanishen Fach C.P School: No rainfall measurement for Monday as rain gauge was full from holiday. Very high measurement for Friday rainfall - gauge was emptied on Weds and no rainfall Thursday during day. Prof P: Excellent weather reporting Llanishen Fach.
Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Monday we were off. We have noticed that the bulbs have started to sprout and are growing nicely. Prof P: Fantastic news!! Thanks for letting me know I hope you enjoy watching them grow!
Greyfriars RC Primary School: it was 50mm because that was all over the holidays. C: this is exciting and i dont know whats gonna happen. R: it was fun watering the plants with C. Prof P: Well done C and R, its great to hear you are working together and having fun.
Ysgol Nant Y Coed: School was closed on Monday sorry professor plant. Prof P: That's okay Ysgol Nant Y Coed, keep up the good work!
John Cross CE Primary School: we had some problems because sheep got on to our field and knocked over the rain collector. Prof P: What cheeky sheep! Maybe they were interested in your investigation and came over to have a closer look.
At the beginning of January we had a crochet session where myself and Anna Phillips attempted to turn everyone into crochet queens. Anna made up a great little easy pattern to crochet circles which could then be turned into a garland, or maybe a coaster if you stopped at just making one. We will be having another crochet meet up on March 15 so come along to that one, and because everyone seems keen I'll try and add more dates to the rest of the year.
St Dwynwen's Day Cards and a Mocktail
Last saturday (25th) was St Dwynwen's Day! I hope you all had cards and treats... we had a family drop-in card making session here in St Fagans National History Museum and we also did a bit of sewing too.
We will be doing something pretty similar for Valentine's Day on 8th and 9th of February.
And the mocktail?
That was for reading group! We were discussing 'Rules of Civility' by Amor Towles which is set in 1930s New York and therefore we had suitably 30s type refreshments - Shirley Temples and kit kats all round! (the kit-kat was introduced in 1937). Our next reading group meet up will be on 22 February where we'll be discussing Alan Hollinghurst's 'The Stranger's Child'. It's a big book, so you'd better start now.
Linking Natural Science Collections in Wales