What is going on?  Observable Change.

 

On the way to work one morning in 2005, I noticed that one of 8 rectangles cut into the sidewalk held water, while the other 7 did not. This led to a long-term investigation of the 8 rectangles that has now lasted almost two years.

 

 

 


 

 

 


On this short, urban street, 8 rectangles (approximately 0.7 x 1.0 meter) were cut into a new sidewalk, in preparation for the planting of 8 identical trees in late summer, 2005. 

 

Initially, the rectangles seemed devoid of life and appeared almost identical, but over a period of time they have evolved into 8 very different and interesting places.  All this despite the landscaping efforts of the owner of the sidewalk.

 

The following pictures illustrate the rich variety of these rectangles, and the changes that have occurred in them.

 

Changes in Rectangle 1

 

Oct. 28, 2005    1:01 PM

Rectangle #1

Nov 1, 2005    9:15 AM

Rectangle #1

Nov. 17, 2005 12:46 PM

Rectangle #1

 

Click on an image for an enlarged view.

 

Jan. 9, 2006 10:09 aM

Rectangle #1

Aug. 24, 2006    10:40 AM

Rectangle #1

Sept. 15, 2006    2:31 PM

Rectangle #1

 

Dec. 4, 2006 9:15 aM

Rectangle #1

April 26 9:00 aM

Rectangle #1

June 1, 2007  8:42aM

Rectangle #1

 

 

What are some questions that might be investigated about these convenient, manageable, and intriguing plots of land? 

 

 

This is how the 8 “Rectangles of Phelps Street” appeared on

September 15, 2006

Rect. #8

Rect. #7

Rect. #6

Rect. #5

Rect. #4

Rect. #3

Rect. #2

Rect. #1

Click on an image to enlarge.

 

September 27, 2006

Rect. #8

Rect. #7

Rect. #6

Rect. #5

Rect. #4

Rect. #3

Rect. #2

Rect. #1

 

December 4, 2006

Rect. #8

Rect. #7

Rect. #6

Rect. #5

Rect. #4

Rect. #3

Rect. #2

Rect. #1

 

June 1, 2007

Rect. #8

Rect. #7

Rect. #6

Rect. #5

Rect. #4

Rect. #3

Rect. #2

Rect. #1

 

Click on an image to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please email your questions, ideas, or suggestions to inquiries@firsthandlearning.org.

 

View additional photos and detail, or provide feedback on this investigation via the Science Firsthand online journal.

 

 

 

Examples;

 

What do you notice?

 

What (if anything) grows in all of the rectangles?

 

In what ways are the rectangles different?

            --How much direct sunlight and water does each receive?

            --What patterns of variation can be observed in the soil?

 

How do the plants change over time?

            --  What is the growth rate of the plant’s leaves, stems, flowers, seeds?

            --  How does a map or photograph of a rectangle help to identify patterns?

 

Notice that the asphalt sidewalk adjacent to the 8 rectangles has also provided some interesting surprises.