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Is winter on its way?

Liam Doyle, 24 November 2014

Hello bulb buddies!

I hope you are all having fun recording the weather information. You’re doing a great job so far.

The weather is very chilly this morning (Monday 24th of November). Last night the temperature in Cardiff fell to 0°C and we had our first proper frost of the year. The temperature was as low as -3°C in some parts of England and Wales. Brrr!

But this cold weather is nothing compared to what some parts of America have been experiencing in the past week. In some areas in the northeast of the country the temperature fell to -15°C. Some places also had two metres of snow! Now that is wintry weather.

The good news is that forecasters do not think that the cold and snow are going to come across the Atlantic to the UK. So no snowmen for us just yet.

What does cold weather mean for our bulbs? Lots of plants don’t like the cold and will perish if it gets too cold. This is why lots of gardeners worry about frost, because it can hurt their plants.

But because we planted our bulbs in the ground, they will be just fine. The earth that we covered them with acts like a warm blanket to keep our baby bulbs nice and cosy. Why don’t you make an origami booklet about the life of a bulb, which you can find here?

You should all now be recording the temperature and rainfall each day and don’t forget to record your results at the end of each week on our website.

Keep up the good work!

Professor Plant

Your questions, my answers:

Ysgol Y Plas - Every day we tip out the water out but on fridays we tip it out then leave over the weekend and then take the rain fall on monday. So on monday the water measurement is from the weekend as well as that day, from c. Prof P – That’s perfect, keep up the good work!

Keir Hardie Memorial Primary School - On Wednesday we forgot to empty the rainfall catcher so we think this is why the rainfall is so high. Prof P – Don’t worry, even the best scientists make mistakes. If you wanted to be really clever you could use maths to work out Thursday’s rainfall. Take away Wednesday’s rain from Thursday’s to see how much rain fell on Thursday.

Saint Anthony's Primary School - We are enjoying the project so far. It's has been fun planting all the bulbs and we can't wait until they grow. We decorated name tags and put them on plant pots to plant our bulbs in. R and L. I have noticed that even when there has been a big rainfall, there is still very little water in the rain gauge. Prof P – Well done everyone at Saint Anthony’s. Your name tags sound great! Perhaps you could ask your teacher to take a photo and send it to me? If your rain gauge isn’t catching water, make sure that there is nothing near it which could stop the rain from falling into it.

Burscough Bridge Methodist School - Again apologises the data is late due to the damages to the equipment, however it is all back up and working. Prof P – Hello to everyone at Burscough Bridge! Don’t worry about being late, just do the best you can. I’m sorry that your equipment got damaged. If there is anything I can do to help then just let me know.

Tongwynlais Primary School - We are really enjoying measuring the weather! We haven't had to water our plants yet as we've had so much rain! Prof P – Hello Tongwynlais, I’m glad you’re enjoying the project. Not having to water your plants is one of the many reasons it is so good to live in Wales!

Ysgol Talybont - We've looked on your map to check our previous observations but it is just saying no data received. Could you please check and contact us if we are doing something wrong on inputting the information Prof P - Hi Talybont. I think I have solved the problem, it was nothing that you were doing wrong! Try the map again and let me know if you have any further issues.

Ysgol Nant Y Coed - We had lots of fun, there wasn’t that much rainfall. Thank you for choosing our school to do it. Prof P – I’m sure there will be plenty of rainfall for you to record in the next few months! Thank you for taking part Nant Y Coed!

Snow blanketed large areas of the north-eastern USA (image via the BBC)

Your Questions, My Answers

Liam Doyle, 21 November 2014

Hello bulb buddies!

St. Paul's Primary School:

My name is A and I am 9 years old. It is my job all next week to take the weather measurements for you. I think I will enjoy it as I love being in the garden. Prof P – Hello Aiden and everyone else at St Paul’s. It sounds like you are doing a great job recording the weather. Keep up the good work!

Kilmory Primary School:

unable to record rainfall accurately Thurs 22mm Friday 26mm. Prof P – Hi Kilmory, do you need any help with measuring rainfall? Or was your gauge just knocked over?

St. Brigid's School:

It has been a cold and wet start to our bulb investigation. We have all made labels and they are standing up nicely in their pots in a safe part of the school. We are all looking forward to seeing the final results. Prof P – Well done to everybody at St Brigid’s. I hope you all had lots of fun planting and making labels. I’m looking forward to seeing your results too!

Ysgol Rhys Prichard:

Very windy on Thursday and heavy rain over night Crisp and clear on Bonfire Night. Very windy on Thursday 13th. A tree blew down near school. Prof P – Da iawn Ysgol Rhys Prichard. Great weather reporting. I hope you all had a good Bonfire Night!

Llanharan Primary School:

Is Monday's rainfall a record of all the rain caught on the weekend? Prof P – Hi everyone at Llanharan. This is a really good question. Yes it is, otherwise we would have no record of the rain that falls over the weekend. I can see that you have already done this for last week’s data, so good job!

Rougemont Junior School:

We planted our baby bulbs on the 27th in line with Scotland. Please remember Professor we were on holiday when Wales were planting. What with fireworks and the cold snap of weather we hope they are tucked up safe and warm! Rougemont year 5 and 6. Prof P – Good job Rougemont. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday. I’ll be sure to remember that you started on the 27th. Your bulbs are tucked up in a nice blanket of soil so they don’t need to worry about the cold!

Bickerstaffe CE Primary School:

We will do as many as we can through the week, can't guarantee every day. Readings will all be taken close to 9.00 a.m.

Rain recorded on Tuesday morning will have been the total for Sat, Sun and Monday

Prof P – Hello Bickerstaffe! Don’t worry if you miss a few days, just do as much as you can. If possible it might be better to take the weather measurements in the afternoon so you get a better picture of that day’s conditions. But as long as you record at roughly the same time each day then it doesn’t really matter.

Guardbridge Primary School:

It rained a lot on Friday. Prof P – Hello Guardbridge, well done for watching the weather closely. It rained a lot in Wales on that day too.

Rivington Foundation Primary School:

Friday was a very rainy day! Prof P – Oh dear! I hope you all stayed warm and dry inside.

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School:

We are really excited at being involved in this project. We have enjoyed clearing the weeds to plant our daffodils and planting all our bulbs. It is fun taking turns to check the rainfall and temperature. Prof P – Hello to everyone at the Blessed Sacrament. It sounds like you all worked very hard planting your bulbs, well done!

Stanford in the Vale Primary School:

A very cold start to the day on Tuesday and Wednesday! Lots and lots of rain Thursday night....bright blue clear sky today! And the sun is shinning. Prof P – Great weather reporting. It’s nice to hear the sun is shining in Oxfordshire!

St. Paul's Primary School:

hi its  its been really raining this week. Prof P – Thanks for the weather information! I’m sorry that you’ve had a rainy week, but at least the plants won’t be thirsty!

Glyncollen Primary School:

We are really enjoying taking care of our bulbs and reading the rainfall and temperature measurements.

We are not sure if our thermometer is working properly because it has been giving us high readings and the weather has been colder this week. On Wednesday we put a new thermometer outside and our readings now seem closer to what the weather forecast says. Is it possible for you to send us a new thermometer please? Diolch yn fawr. Blwyddyn 4 Prof P – Da iawn Glyncollen! I’m really glad you’re enjoying the project. You’re right, your temperature readings do seem very high. I’ll send you a new thermometer as soon as possible.

Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn:

Hi. We are year 4 in Ysgol Hen Golwyn. We like doing the project and we have completed the first week. We like your beard. Some of our pots were knocked over and the rain gauge was tipped over too but everything is going to plan now. Prof P – Hello Year 4! I’m glad you’re enjoying the project. Don’t worry too much about things getting knocked over. Problems like that are part of life as a scientist.

Ysgol Bro Eirwg:

Rydyn ni wedi mwynhau dysgu a chofnodi yr wythnos hon! Prof P – Da iawn pawb!

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School:

We are taking it in turns to collect the weather data. The weather has been very wet and windy at times. But it is cool to be a scientist, even if you miss a bit of football! H Prof P – Thank you for the weather data! You’re right, it is cool to be a scientist. I hope you didn’t miss too much football!

Coppull Parish Primary School:

My Year 4 children have recorded these by themselves. They could be the other way around. For example I have switched Thursday's temperature number with Thursday's Rainfall number. It didn't seem to be zero degrees celcius that day and the children wrote mm in the temperature boxes. Hmmmmm. mm also cropped up in the temperature on Wed. Marie Codd Science Leader and Forest School Leader. Prof P – Hi Marie. It’s great that the children are recording the data themselves. It is still very early in the project so there are bound to be some mistakes. I’m sure that by the end of the year you will all be experts. Well done everyone!

Thank you bulb buddies from Professor Plant and baby bulb!

Finally autumn

Danielle Cowell, 10 November 2014

Hello bulb buddies!

I hope you’re all having fun looking after your bulbs.

Autumn has finally arrived in Cardiff. There is a chill in the air and the leaves on the trees are turning lovely shades of orange, yellow and brown.

Autumn has arrived late this year. October’s weather was warmer and wetter than average and this meant lots of the trees kept their green leaves for longer than usual.

The weather on Halloween was extra-special! Temperatures in some areas of the UK, such as south England and north Wales, reached well over 20°C. 

The temperature in Kew Gardens in west London reached a whopping 23.6°C, which is the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK on Halloween. I hope you didn’t get too hot in your spooky costumes!

I think these weird weather conditions are very interesting and am excited to see what strange things you find during your spring bulb experiments.

Has autumn arrived where you live? Are the leaves changing colour and falling from the trees? Why don’t you take an autumnal picture and send it to me in an email? I might even post it here on my blog.

Remember that you should now have started recording the temperature and rainfall on your weather charts. If you can’t remember what you’re supposed to do you can look at the Keeping Weather Records page on my website.

Many Thanks

Professor Plant

Beech trees

Bulbathon 2015

Danielle Cowell, 6 November 2014

A planting day of bulbous proportions!

Eleven thousand and three hundred bulbs were planted by school scientists across the UK to kick start the Spring Bulbs for Schools investigation. Seven and a half thousand pupils from one hundred and seventy nine schools got planting to investigate climate change.

Here is a map to show you where the bulbs were planted.

Here are some of the pictures they sent in. Follow their progress and the questions they raise as they record the local weather and flowering through the winter and into the spring.

Professor Plant

Professor Plant

Pupils busy planting at Balshaw Lane Primary.

Planting indoors to avoid the rain.

All planted up at Preston Grange School.

Biology Rocks! at National Museum Cardiff

Lucy McCobb, 20 October 2014

Biology rocked at National Museum Cardiff on Saturday 11th October, when over 3000 visitors joined scientists from Amgueddfa Cymru, Cardiff University and the Society of Biology to celebrate National Biology Week and Earth Science Week. 

Visitors got the opportunity to see some of the specimens from our collections that aren’t usually on display and to talk to Museum experts about their work.  Specimens from the Marine and Mollusca collections provided inspiration for a mural depicting life in the seas around Wales, which became more colourful and populated throughout the day!  

As part of the Geological Society’s ‘100 Great Geosites’ campaign, Museum geologists displayed rocks, fossils and minerals from our collections, as well as stunning images of some of the most beautiful and iconic landscapes in Wales.  Members of the public were invited to vote for their favourite site in Wales, with the dinosaur footprints from Bendricks Rocks, near Barry, emerging as the clear favourite on the day.

To mark the recent arrival of two hives on our roof, staff from the Entomology and Botany Sections gave visitors the opportunity to take a closer look at bee specimens from our collections and to experience a ‘bee’s eye view’ of the world by playing a pollination game, collecting ‘pollen’ and ‘nectar’ from various flowers.

Scientists from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences and School of Earth and Ocean Sciences put on a variety of displays and activities throughout the Museum.  Among the many activities on offer, visitors could try their hand at organ transplant using a life-size Operation game, race maggots, work out how big a dinosaur was from its footprint, discover first-hand how fungi get their spots, and learn the importance of reporting road kill with the Splatter Project.

Some of our younger visitors getting to grips with our marine collections

Exploring seabed life

Botanist curator taking part in the pollination game

Our seabed mural being put together by museum visitors

Giant Operation Game