SCAN is an Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales project, which helps schools promote Education for Sustainable Development.
New year, new shoots!
Happy New Year Super Scientists! Hope you had a great break and are ready to get investigating!
At this time of year things start to get really exciting. Now is the time to watch your pots to see if anything is starting to grow. My daffodil shoots have already appeared! Anyone else got any yet? Please send me photographs if you do.
It could take another month or even six weeks until my flowers appear. It all depends on our weather - if it turns really cold then the growth will slow down. If it stays warm they will grow faster.
The next step... Please use my PowerPoint presentation to find out how to keep flower records. Remember each of you must let me know when your flowers open in order to receive your Super Scientist Certificates.
2012 was the second wettest year on record in the UK and the wettest ever in England, the Met Office announced.
The downpours that caused more than 8,000 homes and businesses to suffer flooding led to a total of 1,330.7mm of rain for the year, just 6.6mm short of the wettest UK year recorded in 2000 (1337.3mm).
Analysis by the Met Office suggests that the UK may be getting increasingly wetter as climate change causes warmer air to carry more water. Days of extreme rainfall – downpours expected once every 100 days – occurred every 70 days in 2012. For more info on this see this report from the Guardian.
Twelve more sleeps
I can’t believe it’s just twelve more sleeps until Christmas! I've sent you all a Christmas card in the post to thank you all for the hard work you have done so far.
This is the sixth and last week of recording until January so Merry Christmas from Baby Bulb and me.
I’ve really enjoyed all of the comments and questions I’ve had this year and look forward to answering more in the New Year.
I do hope you all have a fantastic break and return in January eager to see how your bulbs are doing. If you are concerned that your bulbs may not be safe over Christmas then take them home with you – but remember they must be keep outside in the cold!
The weather has been very cold in places over the last week or so but it is predicted that it will get warmer. Harwell Primary School reported -10 °c last Thursday. Very cold indeed! Can you confirm this is correct?
My favourite Christmas carol is the ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ because it contains two of our native evergreen plants. The Celts used these plants to celebrate the Winter Solstice and of course they are used by Christians to celebrate Christmas.
If you don’t know it, here are the lyrics: http://www.carols.org.uk/the_holly_and_the_ivy.htm
Your questions, my answers:
Greyfriars RC Primary School: We are really enjoying this! Prof.P: So glad to hear it!
DarranPark Primary: There aren't any signs of growth yet. Prof.P: Give it time; you should see something in January.
GlyncollenPrimary School: We have seen a pattern in our temperatures this week. We have also found out a way to stop our rain gauge from falling over. We hope we don't have any snow next week. From Glyncollen year 4 Prof.P: Great to hear you are seeing patterns in your weather data and that you have found a way to stop your rain gauge from falling over. Please let me know how you do it?
BalcurviePrimary School: We have had a lot of ice this week and freezing temperatures. We also had snow over last weekend and on Thursday. Prof.P: I hope it gets warmer for you at the weekend!
St Joseph's Primary School (Penarth): We have noticed how much colder is has got this week. There has been some ice on our plant pots and we feel really sorry for the poor bulbs! Prof.P: Don’t worry too much I’m sure they will be fine.
KilmaronSpecialSchool: Records for rainfall on days with negative temperatures may not be correct as the water had frozen and expanded so reading may be higher than actual water collected Prof.P: Thanks for letting me know Kilmaron; I will make a note of it. If it happens again melt it before you measure. Thanks
Ysgol Pencae: It rained cats and dogs on Friday and was milder. Did it rain more in Cardiff? Prof.P: We only had 10mms of rain in Cardiff a quarter of what you recorded!
Birds and berries
Snow has fallen in Ladybank Primary School in Scotland and Nether Kellet Primary School reported frozen rain in their rain gauge! Here in Cardiff too, we have begun to see frost in the mornings.
At this time of the year, birds get very hungry and start to feed on berries. This blackbird began eating the crab apples from the tree at the bottom of my garden. I don't cut the tree back so it becomes a good source of food for the birds in the winter. This is a female black bird - they are brown and don't have yellow beaks – so quite different to the males.
Don't forget to feed the birds over the winter. Find out how to make a speedy bird cake.
Sixty five schools sent in weather records this week! Thanks so much to all of you who sent in your recordings.
Your questions, my answers:
TorView Community School: Please accept the above data as being CORRECT for TorView CommunitySchool. The previous 'temperature' details were wrongly submitted in degrees 'Fahrenheit' instead of 'centigrade.' Prof.P: Well spotted! Thanks for letting me know, I will remove the Fahrenheit data from your charts.
Medlar with Wesham CE Primary School: Hi professor plant there has a little bit of rain so we have not had to water them much. They are not growing yet but they are staying healthy. We are being very patient but we just can't wait for them to grow. Prof.P: Good things come to those who wait! It’s so nice when the flowers open in the spring. It cheers me up every year!
RogietPrimary School: How are you professor plant? It has been very cold here in Rogiet. Prof.P: I’m good thanks Rogiet, been cold here too, but I’m wrapping up warm. I hope you are too?
Your school: Westwood CP School: When I measure the rainfall on a Monday do I count the rainfall that fell over the weekend too. Or should I empty the contents when I get to school on Monday and measure at our usual time of 2pm? St. Mary's RC Primary School (Lancashire): What happens on Monday when the rain gauge includes Saturdays and Sunday? Prof.P: Hi Westwood & St Mary’s! Good question! You should measure the rainfall that fell over the weekend, that way we will know exactly how much rain has fallen that week.
LadybankPrimary School: We think our thermometer is broken because it was snowing today and it read 15 degrees. Prof.P: I will send you a new one immediately. Enjoy the snow! I’m very jealous.
Ysgol Pencae (Conwy): We had lots of rain over the weekend. The weather has got colder. We are measuring our rainfall in ml with a homemade gauge, is this correct? Prof.P: Hi Ysgol Pencae. Great that you have managed to build your own rain gauge! Please could you measure the rainfall in mm rather than ml. Everyone across the country measures in mm so in order to compare we need it in mms. See this video about how to do this. You will be able to convert the mls back into mm by pouting the amounts you measured into your rain gauge and seeing what the mms are. Hope that makes sense. Thanks
Ysgol Capelulo: This week has been really cold and wet. It was very wet on Monday and really cold on Thursday, on Wednesday and Thursday there was no rainfall. This week in Wales it has been very windy. We enjoy taking other people out to help us take the readings. Goodbye. :) Prof.P: Great idea getting others involved, glad you are enjoying!
KilmaronSpecialSchool: We have had to move the location of our rain funnel as one of the pupils in another class was caught emptying it out. It is now hidden behind a bush outside our classroom window. Prof.P: Oh dear, good plan to hide it!
St Joseph's Primary School (Penarth): We have noticed how much the temperature has fallen this week and we are concerned about our poor bulbs getting too cold! Prof.P: Don’t worry they will be expecting it to be cold at this time of year.
Greyfriars RC Primary School: One of our pots has been knocked over we are worrying about vandalism. Prof.P: Oh no! If you re-plant them they are often fine. If the vandals are from outside the school perhaps you should think if there is anywhere safer around the school? If they are from in the school you should talk to them.
Your school: Ysgol Porth Y Felin: To PP the plants are fine we have 2 plants that have started to grow and the temperatures are quite close apart from Thursday, when it was very cold. Prof.P: Gosh growing already!
St Mary's CatholicPrimary School: It has been very cold this week; we hope our bulbs are tucked up nice and warm in their pots. Prof.P: I’m sure they will be fine!
Thorneyholme RC Primary School: Yo prof plant hows it rollin'!!!!????? Cute little bulbs are part of our school now. Prof.P: Great to hear they have settled in.
Nether Kellet Primary School: Today the water froze cool as ice!! Prof.P: Brrrrgh! To get the measurement you need to bring it in to defrost to water.
"It's beggining to feel at lot like Winter!"
What a week! More floods and now turning Frosty!
The highest rain record this week came from Thorneyholme RC Primary School and Westwood CP School both with 100mms of rain. As WestwoodSchool pointed out this week they are very lucky to not live by a river. Some schools who received less rain but did get flooding in their locality.
Nant Y Coed School explained: We've actually had 23mm of rain since yesterday. There was lots of flooding in the area and some of the teachers couldn't get home at all and some didn’t get home until nearly midnight.
Study the maps to see why. If you click on the option that says 'Terrain' in Google maps you will be able to see all the contours of the mountains and hills. If you follow this link to where Ysgol Nant Y Coed school is situated you will see that when the rain falls in the surrounding area it all collects and runs to Llandudno Junction area - so if there is very heavy rainfall the area may flood. If you look at the Environment Agency flood map it highlights the areas that suffer from flooding and you will see that the areas around does flood just as the school reported.
Take a look at different areas in your locality and see if you can predict if or why certain areas flood. Then visit the environment agency flood map to see where the areas of high risk are.
This link has some animations about the different factors that cause a flood.
Oakfield Primary asks: Is the rainfall heavy for this time of year? Prof.P: Good question! Our records show that the average rainfall since we began recording are around 150mm of rain in November in Wales. We can't compare this figure until the end of the month but in some places 100mm of rain have fallen in a day! So yes it is high for this time of year.
Your questions, my answers:
Thorneyholme RC Primary School: The bulb is so cute!!
########## hash tag (no reason at all someone in class is obsessed with hash tags!) See you next week p plant. Thorneyholme xoxo Prof.P: High #Thorneyholme #Prof.P
Ysgol Capelulo: It rained a lot on Thursday but it was very windy so not a lot of rain went into the rain collector, but there was a lot of rain on Thursday night. It also rained a lot on Wednesday night. The temperature on Tuesday was quiet warm. Prof.P: Great recording!
Stanford in the ValePrimary School: What a week.... Floods on Wednesday, Thursday high winds and blue skies Friday!
Stanford Gardening Club Prof.P: Yes a very crazy week of weather!
We have wondered about the rainfall records - we were putting the rain gauge out each morning, but then thought this isn't recording all the rain at night we have had recently? We are now leaving it out all the time in between emptying it at about 2:30 each afternoon. We hope this is ok? Prof.P: Great, well spotted, I leave mine out so it collects all the rain too then just empty it once a day.
Ysgol Porth Y Felin. Hello P.P we are very amazed about Thursday because of all the floods!!! There aren’t many differences between the temperatures but there’s quite a lot in the rainfall! Happy planting!!!! Prof.P: Yes so much rain falling some days!
We have had a lot of rain this week and the strong wind blew our water gauge down so we hope our rainfall measurement is accurate. Prof.P: Thanks for letting me know, this can’t be helped sometimes mine falls over too!
St Joseph's Primary School (Penarth) we have been very excited about taking measurements this week. We were interested to see that, so much rain fell on Tuesday night, our car park was flooded! Prof.P: Gosh, I hope none of the cars were flooded, glad you’re enjoying!
Greyfriars RC Primary School
I love the plants there doing very well. Prof.P: Great news Greyfriars!
Friday rainfall could have been more than 50 ml but measurer stopped at 50. Prof.P: Gosh, perhaps you need a bigger rain gauge?
Problem of people standing on our plants but we are working to get it sorted. Prof.P: Oh dear! I do hope you manage to sort it out – please let me know.
This week has seen floods across many areas of the UK - see the images in the links below. Stepaside School reported high flooding in many areas.
I suspect a few schools will be closed today and perhaps unable to send in their records. I do hope everyone will be safe and dry.
In my garden we had 30mm of rain on Wednesday and I had to rescue a frog who was hopping along a busy road on my way home. Harwell School reported 15mm of rain whilst Rhydypenau school in Cardiff and Balmerino outside Dundee also reported 30mm of rain!
- Wales - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-20458267
- Scotland - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-20439824
- England - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-20441316
Last week 57 schools sent in their weather records many thanks to you all!
Study the records. If you would like to look-up the weather and see how much rain everyone has been having, follow this link then select the school you would like to study. Please check that your records are displaying correctly and let me know if any problems.
Your questions, my answers:
RAF Benson Primary School: We would like to send our records on a Thursday as it is the evening of our gardening club. Prof.P: No problem, doing it like this, but as the web site is set-up to only allow you to send in a week of weather at a time, you will only be able to upload the weather from the week before. Thanks.
Medlar with Wesham CE Primary School: Why aren't our bulbs growing yet we are impatient. Prof.P: they will be growing - but under the ground. Ask your teacher if you could grow one of your spare bulbs in a clear gel so you can watch the roots growing, but you must be patient. If they grew above the soil now they could be harmed by the winter frost.
Ysgol Porth Y Felin: We are interested by the fact that all the temperatures are nearly the same and it only rained on Monday. Prof.P: My temperatures have been fairly similar too, temperature wise it is very mild at the moment. Test if your thermometer definitely working properly?
Westwood CP School: Cold day on Friday! We had a little shower. That is the 1mm of rainfall. Prof.P: great accurate recording Westwood!
Weather records are flying in!
Wow! What a fantastic start to this year's weather recording. Forty six schools sent in weather records last week and this weeks are flying in as I type! The project was also mentioned in the South Wales Echo and the Oxford Times.
If you've ever wondered what your bulbs do once they are planted then why not make this mini-origami booklet! The secret undercover life of the bulb. By Prof. Plant. (Colour version) (Fill in the gaps version) (How to do)
Many of you have sent in comments and questions - please see my answers below:
Ysgol Nant Y Coed - "We have had rain this week but not enough to measure. We've enjoyed keeping the records this week" Prof.P: "Thanks for the info and delighted to hear you are enjoying being a scientist!"
St Mary's Catholic Primary School - "Hello, we have had no rain this week". Prof. P: "Hi St Mary's - Welcome to the project - keep up the good work!"
Greyfriars RC Primary School - "Hi we are really enjoying this" Prof.P: "So glad you are enjoying!"
Nether Kellet Primary School - "It has been hard to remember to keep track of the bulb project since it's only our first week. We forgot to cheek on Wednesday so we went on the weather forecast. Do you own the museum we are gathering information for? We really enjoyed collecting the weather information and are 'into' the project now!" Prof.P: "Yes I agree it can be tricky to remember in the beginning, good idea to check with your local forecast when you forget, delighted that you are enjoying it now! I don't own the Museum but I work here so I guess it own me ;-) The Museum is owned by the people of Wales, part of my job is to help people understand and enjoy the weird and wonderful collections we have. I'm very lucky!"
Thorneyholme RC Primary School - "We are enjoying growing and looking after our bulbs.
We love your hair-do and your glasses!!" Prof.P: "Thanks no one has ever complimented me on my hair or glasses before - you've made my day! Glad you're enjoying!"
Ysgol Clocaenog - "Diolch am y bylbiau. Mae hi wedi bod yn wythnos dda i'r bylbiau oherwydd dydi hi ddim wedi bod yn rhy oer ac mae hi wedi bwrw glaw. Athro'r Ardd: Dim problem, dwi'n falch i glywed bod y tywydd yn dda i'r bylbiau".
Medlar with Wesham CE Primary School - "Hi Professor plant. We have not yet watered our plants because it has rained a lot. Prof.P: "Yes that is good, it's important that your bulbs don't get too wet or too dry."
Glyncollen Primary School - "Thank you for the bulbs. We are looking forward to when they grow." Prof.P: "You're welcome! You should start to see some growth after Christmas!”
Ysgol Deganwy - "We have moved our pots to the south side of our mobile classroom against a wall. There has been some building work on the previous north side which meant we couldn't put our pots there." Prof.P: Thanks for letting me know. They should get a lot more sun on the South side too.
Henllys CIW Primary - "Rainfall on Thursday 8 November was 0.5 mm; Rainfall on Friday 9 November was 0.1mm." Prof.P: "Thanks for these details - very accurate recording!"
St Joseph's Primary School (Penarth) - "We were interested to see that the temperature remained the same for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, even though we thought that it felt colder." Prof.P: "That is interesting; sometimes the wind can make it feel colder. It you have two thermometers you could check if they say the same thing."
Westwood CP School - "Cloudy but dry week apart for some rain on Friday. Temperature are not too bad yet but I'm sure worse is to come!" Prof.P: "Thanks for the update and Welcome to the project again this year!"
Stanford in the Vale Primary School - "Dear Professor Plant. First week of observations...Monday really cold with sharp frosts to the ground...then Thursday warm and sunny blue sky's amazing. No rain has been recorded as we have had no rainfall. Best Wishes. Stanford in the Vale Gardening Club." Prof.P: "Thanks for the observations, a real mixture of weather - keep up the good work!"
A cold start to this year's investigation!
Today, pupils across the UK have begun keeping weather records for the Spring Bulbs for Schools investigation. Until the end of March they will record temperatures and the amount of rainfall as part of this climate investigation.
It was only just five degrees in my garden in Cardiff this morning. Last year our average temperature for November was 9 degrees Celsius – so it’s a lot colder. Parts of the UK even had snow today and are now at risk from flooding when the snow melts! See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/nov/05/flood-warnings-weekend-rain-snow
Please let me know if you got any snow!
I look forward to seeing the weather records come in on Friday. If you have any questions about recording – please get in touch.
Get your gloves on!
Two thousand bulbs being planted in Scotland today! Good luck Scotland and please wrap up warm as the temperature is a chilly 3 or 4 degrees! Temperatures across the UK have fallen dramatically today making it feel very much like winter.
Welsh and English schools are finishing up for half term and all the schools are preparing for recording their 1st weather records on the 5th of November!
Click here for info on keeping weather records
Click here to ensure fair test when planting your bulbs
Please take a look at these lovely pics sent in by Stanford in the Vale Primary School.
A fair-test for forty five thousand fingers!
Four and a half thousand school scientists across England and Wales planted bulbs for a climate investigation being run by Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales.
Each pupil planted their bulbs and followed simple methodology to ensure a fair test. Before planting, they learned how to care for bulbs and completed adoption certificates as a promise to care for their bulbs.
This is just the beggining for this years participants who will be recording flowering times and weather conditions every week until the end of March.
I visited St Joseph's school in Penarth to see how they were getting along and was amazed by how excited and involved in the project they were. Mrs Dunstan has done a great job working with the class to create a great display about the project. On questioning, it was clear that the class knew they were helping with a larger experiment and what it was about.
I was delighted to hear a Yr.3 pupil question "Is it a fair-test if all Scottish schools are planting a week later?" It showed that she was really thinking about the logistics of this large scale study. I explained that the Scottish schools had to plant on another date because their holiday dates are quite different to those in England and Wales and that we would look at the Scottish data separately as a result. After our discussion we went outside to do the planting - see my pictures.
Meanwhile in West Wales, Stepaside School were also busy planting. Here are pictures of the Yr.3 pupils involved this year.
If any other schools have any images they would like to share please send them to me.
Good luck with the planting this week in Scotland - I hope it stays dry!
Twelve thousand bulbs prepare to land in schools across the UK!
This week, six and a half thousand young scientists across the UK are getting ready for the big bulb planting day.
Twelve thousand bulbs will be planted and monitored as part of this long term climate investigation being co-ordinated at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales. If there was a world record for the most people planting bulbs simultaneously, (in several locations) we could smash it! I may suggest a new category to the Guiness book of records...
All the bulbs have been counted up and are steadily being delivered to the 120 schools across the country. I'd like to welcome each an every pupil and teacher who will be working on this project! If you haven't already recieved my letter please follow this link
Before each bulb is planted, each pupil must also adopt their bulb and promise to care for it. If you want to know how see this link
The children of St. Joseph's School in Penarth were very excited to read my letter and are very keen to help. They have written me some replies on leaf paper and have promised to plant the bulbs and look after them. Thanks so much St.Joseph's I love these, great idea!
Before you adopt your bulb you may also wish to know where it's come from. My friend Baby Bulb is going to explain:
'My bulb buddies and I come from a nursery plantation in Manorbier, near Tenby in Wales, it's called 'Springfields'. We didn't spring from the fields, but we were picked and loaded onto a van ready to go to our new homes. At first I was a little afraid, but then when I met Professor Plant at the Museum I understood that I would be cared for by a nice young person and that I have an important job to do. We have all been selected to help us understand how the weather can affect when my friends and I make flowers. My parents before me grew here too, Springfields have been growing us 'Tenby Daffodils' for about 25 years, we are one of the two daffodils that are native to the British Isles".
Just one week until planting now! I can't wait!