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NC Farmworker Vaccination Plan (English | Spanish)

It’s a Strawberry Kind of Day in Third Grade

Overview

Purpose

Students will apply their understanding of the strawberry life cycle and soil types to construct a strawberry patch.

Subject Area(s)

Reading, Science, Math, Health

Essential Files/Links

Vocabulary

Capacity: the amount something can produce or hold.

Crown (stem): a short, thickened stem which has a growing point at the upper end and forms roots at its base.

Daughter plant: a plant that is naturally reproduced through the mother plant.

Flower: the seed bearing part of a plant, consisting of reproductive organs.

Fruit: a fleshy product of a tree or plant that contains seeds and can be eaten as food.

Formation: the process of being formed or the structure of something.

Leaf: a flattened structure of a plant, which is attached to a stem where photosynthesis and transpiration takes place.

Length: the measurement of something or an object from end to end.

Life cycle: the series of changes in the life of an organism including reproduction.

Personification: giving non-human things human capabilities.

Photosynthesis: the process by which green plants use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water.

Plug: a small-sized seedling, often grown in trays to be transplanted into a larger area.

Produce: things that have been produced or grown on farms, such as vegetables and fruits.

Propagation/Propagate: the breeding of plants by natural processes from the parent stock.

Roots: parts of the plant growing underground to support plants and provide water and nutrients by numerous branches and fibers.

Runners: shoots, or branches off of a plant often referred to as “daughter plants.”

Stem: the main body or stalk of a plant or shrub typically seen above ground.

Strawberry: a sweet, soft red fruit with a seed-studded surface.

Seeds: a flowering plant’s unit of reproduction, capable of developing into a plant.

Texture: the feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface.

Transplanted: having been moved or transferred to a new place.

Water capacity: measurement or volume of water something can hold.

NC Ag Facts

  • Did you know strawberries can be grown anywhere in North Carolina? In 2019, about 1,100 acres were harvested and planted across all regions of North Carolina including the piedmont, coastal plain, and mountain regions.1
  • Strawberry harvest begins in early-mid April in Eastern North Carolina, early May in the Piedmont, and mid-June in the Mountains.2
  • Strawberries should be picked every other day or about 3 times a week, with the best time to pick in the early morning hours.2
  • North Carolina designated the strawberry as the official red berry of the state in 2001.4
  • North Carolina is the fourth-largest producer of strawberries in the United States.1
  • April signals the start of strawberry season in North Carolina, and in a season with high yields, strawberries will continue to produce through the end of May, until Memorial Day and ends in mid-June in the mountains.1

Background Knowledge

Strawberries are unique! Did you know strawberries are the only fruit that wear seeds on the outside? Most fruits that are categorized as “berries” contain their seeds inside the fruit; however, strawberries are not considered a true berry. Strawberries are a member of the rose family. There are several different fruits and berries that belong to the rose family including raspberries, blackberries, cherries, apples, and pears. Strawberry plants are perennials. That means if you plant one it will grow back year after year, but most strawberry farmers do not use this method. Instead they purchase strawberry plugs, which are young, small strawberry plants that are grown and then transplanted in the farmer’s strawberry patch. Strawberries are also the first fruit to ripen in the spring, and no other small fruit produces berries as soon after planting as strawberry plants.2

Health Benefits

Strawberries have many health benefits. Listed here are a few facts to better understand their health benefits.

  • Strawberries are packed with nutrients! Nutritionists have found strawberries to be an excellent source of vitamin C.2 Levels of vitamin C help protect the human eyes from free radicals in UV rays that can damage the protein of the eye lens.3
  • One serving of fresh strawberries (one cup or about 6-9 berries) has only 50 calories is a significant source of fiber in the diet.3
  • They are a good source of potassium and manganese.3
  • Strawberries are rich in antioxidant compounds such as anthocyanin, quercetin, resveratrol, and ellagic acid. These compounds found in strawberries help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and hypertension, improve immune systems, and reduce cognitive declines in aging.3 Ellagic acid helps prevent wrinkles and repair skin damage caused by UV rays.
  • Additional benefits of strawberries include healthy support for eyes, brain activity, and prenatal development for expecting mothers.3
  • The polyphenol compounds found in strawberries have been linked to promoting proper brain functionality by protecting the central nervous system against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Dementia.6
  • Strawberries can regulate blood pressure due to their potassium content of 18 milligrams per berry.3

Planting & Caring for Strawberries

In North Carolina, strawberry farmers plant in the fall, around late September through early October, depending on the location. The plants are planted as transplants in rows on raised beds. The raised beds are covered with a special plastic that is typically black in color. This plastic serves as a weed barrier, increases soil warmth through insulation, holds in moisture, and provides a clean surface for strawberries to grow and ripen. Between the rows, rye grass is often planted to prevent soil erosion. Throughout the growing season, farmers watch the weather for rain and extreme temperatures that drop below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower). They irrigate the berries in dry conditions with watering systems, such as sprinklers or drip tape laid beneath the black plastic. Additionally, during winter months, with below freezing temperatures sprinkler systems are used to provide a layer of ice as a barrier for frost protection for the strawberry plants. Strawberries are typically harvested in late April through May, and can continue to June, depending on weather and location.

Did you know that if an average of 25 strawberry plants were planted, these plants and the resulting runner plants would produce 25 quarts of strawberries? Imagine nearly 6 gallons of strawberries produced from 25 plants.If it takes approximately 5 lbs. of strawberries to make a gallon, how many lbs. could a farmer sell from 25 strawberry plants? Answer: 30 lbs.

Student Motivator

Before you begin identify any food allergies among the students. Provide them with a few favorite breakfast and snack foods such as a strawberry pop tart, fruit roll-up, and any other foods with strawberry as an ingredient. Allow students to conduct a taste-testing party. Ask students, “What is your favorite snack food you sampled today? What is the common feature among these different snacks?” Direct student conversations by explaining that the snack foods they sampled contain strawberries to provide a desirable flavor. Ask students the following questions:

  • Have you ever eaten a strawberry?
  • Have you ever picked your own strawberry?
  • Have you ever eaten a strawberry grown in your local county?
  • Have you ever eaten another food that had strawberries in it?

Create a class pictograph, bar graph, or tally chart to display the information. Explain to students the next several days/weeks we are going to be learning more about strawberries and how important they are in our diet and in our community.

Procedures

Activity 1: Students will expand on previously learned information about strawberries and gain a deeper understanding.

Standards: SL.3.1, SL.3.1c, SL.3.1d

Materials:

  • Whiteboard
  • Pencil/eraser
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Technology (computer/SMART Board/document camera)

Essential Files/Links:

Essential Question: What are the parts of a strawberry plant?

  1. On chart paper, write the letters K W L (click here for more information)
  2. Ask students what they already Know, what they Want to Know, and what they want to Learn about strawberries.
  3. Display a Picture of a Strawberry (see Essential Files).
  4. Allow 10 minutes for students to discuss the K (Know) and the W (Want to Know). As students are discussing the first two sections of the KWL chart, take notes and make connections to strawberries from information in the Background Knowledge section.
  5. Introduce students to the book, From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to the Strawberry Patch by Heather Barnes and Karen Baltimore. This book can be downloaded and shared via SMART Board/computer/iPad. It can be read aloud to students or allow students to read independently or in small groups.
  6. Have students complete the L (Learn) portion of the KWL chart independently after reading the assigned book. Students will complete the What I Learned document (see Essential Files).
  7. Explain to students about the upcoming activities. Say, “This will be our background knowledge to much of what we are going to be doing in the coming days and weeks. We are going to use all the things we learn to complete a class book: It’s a Strawberry Kind of Day in Third Grade (see Activity 7).

Activity 2: Students will understand the structure and function of the strawberry plant.

Standards: 3.L.2, 3.L.2.1, SL.3.1, RI.3.7

Materials:

  • Technology (computer/SMART Board/document camera)
  • Fruit/vegetable samples: carrots, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, strawberries, and sunflower seeds
  • Soap & water
  • Blank paper

Essential Files/Links (see list on Page 1):

  • Strawberry Plant Diagram
  • Strawberry Word Cards
  • Blank Strawberry Plant Diagram

Essential Question: What are the parts of a strawberry plant?

  1. Show students the Strawberry Plant Diagram (see Essential Files). Point out the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruit, and seeds of the plant.
  2. Explain the function of each plant part.
  3. Have students label their strawberry diagram with Strawberry Word Cards (see Essential Files).
  4. Students can be assigned the following plant parts to mimic each of their jobs.
    • Roots: Sit on the ground, and pretend to anchor yourself in place to represent roots holding a plant in place.
    • Stems: Stand up straight to represent a stem supporting leaves, flowers, and fruit. Move your arms up your body from your feet to your head. This represents water, nutrients, and sugars moving through the stem.
    • Leaves: Hold hands high in the air to represent leaves receiving energy from the sun to make food for the plant.
    • Flowers: Make fancy poses to represent a flower attracting pollinators.
    • Fruit: Pretend to hold a baby to represent the fruit protecting the seeds.
    • Seeds: Roll into a ball on the ground and then slowly begin to stand up to represent a seed sprouting and growing into a new plant.
  1. Next, inform students they will be creating an example of their own strawberry plant by using other delicious fruits and vegetables. Prior to lesson collect all materials for this activity. Collect samples of carrots, asparagus or celery, spinach or lettuce broccoli, strawberries, and sunflower seeds. This would be an opportunity to involve local produce markets, or ask parents, local agencies, and cafeteria staff/school principal if these consumable items could be donated.
  2. Make sure all produce has been carefully washed. All students should also wash their hands with soap and water.
  3. Explain to students that they will model the parts of the plant with different fruits and vegetables, specifically a strawberry plant. Say to students, “As you are creating your edible plant parts diagram think about the purpose of each plant part. The roots are underneath the ground and have a very important job. The roots anchor the plant into the ground and searches for water and nutrient sources to help the plant live. What fruit or vegetable item would you choose to represent the roots of the plant?” (Carrots, radishes, sweet potatoes, etc.)
  4. Say, “Next we have the stem. The stem is also important. We learned previously that the stem is the pathway that carries the water and nutrients to all parts of the plant. The stem helps hold the plant firm and steady. What fruit or vegetable item would you choose to represent the stem?” (Celery, asparagus, etc.)
  5. Say to students, “Now we are going to look at the main parts that remain: leaves, flowers, and fruit. Each one of these parts has a special job; the leaves provide food for the plant through a process called photosynthesis. The flowers attract the pollinators to the plant, and the fruit produced is what we get to enjoy. What fruit or vegetable item would you choose to represent the remaining parts of the plant?” (Leaves: cabbage leaves, lettuce leaves, or spinach leaves, etc.). Students will label each part of the plant. This would be a good time to talk with students about the process of photosynthesis in detail.
  6. Once students have created their parts of a plant edible arrangement ask them to brainstorm what part of the vegetable or fruits that we eat. Say, “You have used many different vegetables and fruits to create your diagram of a strawberry plant, and many of the items we used represent the different parts of different fruits and vegetables. For instance, a carrot is a root and a potato is a tuber. So, what would our lettuce be?” Students should identify that lettuce is the leaf of the plant.
  7. Continue to ask students to identify the different vegetables used in this project, i.e. celery – stem, cucumbers – fruit, broccoli – stem and flower, carrot – root, and so on.
  8. Finally, allow students to enjoy taste testing their creation. If taste testing is not an option or if this activity is too expensive, you can show students pictures/images of different fruits and vegetables and let them create a drawing using pictures of the different fruits and vegetables.

Assessment: Have students label the parts of the strawberry plant and explain the purpose of each part while using a Blank Strawberry Plant Diagram (see Essential Files).

Activity 3: Students will understand the layers and types of soil, to recognize that roots grow through the soil to absorb water and nutrients.

Standards: 3.L.2.2, 3.L.2.4, 3.MD.B.4

Materials:

Essential Files/Links (see list on Page 1):

  • Strawberry Plant Diagram
  • Soil Examination Station Worksheet

Essential Questions:

  • Which type of soil will strawberry plants grow best in?
  • Why is soil important to a farmer?
  1. Before the lesson, gather all materials to include: 10-12 pots, soil samples: sand, clay and loam (at least 3-4 of each sample), small shovel/spade, gloves (optional), magnifying glass, measuring cups, water, etc.
  2. Tell students, “Today we are going to imagine we are strawberry farmers and it is time to plant this year’s crop. First, we must remember that strawberries are planted in the fall, typically in early October. One of the most important parts of planting our strawberries is finding the right soil because it provides water and nutrients for feeding the plant.”
  3. Explain to students that strawberries can grow in many different types of soils, but some soils are better because they provide the space for roots to easily spread and hold water.
  4. Show students a Strawberry Plant Diagram (see Essential Files) and point out the roots of the plant. Ask students, “Where are the roots of the strawberry plant?” Students will identify that the roots are under the ground. Tell students, “This is why it is important we understand the types of soil we are planting in, but also the layers of soil.”
  5. Layers of Soil Activity

  1. Say to students, “Now that we understand the layers of soil, we can look at the different types of soil.”
  2. Show students different clear containers of soil (this may be some you found from home, school, or soil samples purchased from different websites such the local Soil & Water Conservation office or NC Cooperative Extension to provide soil samples). See link here: https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/local-county-center/
  3. Recall with students what the roots and stems do. Say, “The roots push through the different layers of dirt to reach a water source to help the plant survive. The stems transport water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves, flowers, and fruit.” After explaining this to students, draw their attention back to the Strawberry Plant Diagram (see Essential Files) and say, “We are going to demonstrate this with a drawing.”
  4. Students will draw a picture of the layers of soil and draw the strawberry plant, specifically including the roots and stems.
  5. Project Based Learning Activity: After gaining a deeper understanding of the layers of soil and how soil plays a part in the growth of strawberry plants, gather materials to include: 3 pots per each group, soil samples: sand, clay and loam (enough for each group to have a sample for each pot).
  6. Say, “After this activity, you will answer the question: Which type of soil will strawberry plants grow best in?”
  7. Explain to students the process of the activity. Say, “You are going to examine and observe the three types of soil. You are going to work with the soil to determine its properties: water capacity, texture, and formation. You will do this by measuring out about a half a cup of water and pour the water into the soil types. Notice how the soils changed. Take a small handful of the soil and feel the texture. Are there differences? As you go through each soil write down all of your findings on your Soil Examination Station Worksheet (see Essential File). Make note of which type of soil you think will work best for growing strawberries.”
  8. Soil Comparison: Model for students the Soil Comparison Activity. Put a small soil sample into a tall narrow tube, add water and shake it up. Let the soil particles settle. Students will notice the heavy particles (sand/gravel) will fall to the bottom; clay will rise to the top, with the finest clay particles remaining suspended in the water. Allow students time to draw this example on their worksheet and discuss the importance of what they are finding. Ask, “Do you think this indicates which soil type is best for plant growth? Do you think heavy soil containing gravel is a better option or a lighter, clay-based soil?”
  9. Allow students time to independently answer the question on their worksheet by writing a response in complete sentences, with factual information found through the examination of soil types. After students have had time to complete their written responses show the video: Is soil and soil type important to strawberry farmers?

Video Link: https://www.ncfarmtoschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Strawberry-Ag-in-the-Classroom-6.mp4

  1. Follow up with the final question from the beginning of the lesson. Write this question on the whiteboard: “Which type of soil will strawberry plants grow best in?” (Strawberries grow well in many different soil types, but grow best in loamy soil. Soil type is only one factor in the success of planting. Other factors include how much organic matter (humus) is in the soil, the availability of nutrients (fertility), the presence of soil-borne diseases, and the land the farmer has available to plant his crops. Sandy soils are easy to work into the raised beds that strawberry growers use; the soil can be worked more rapidly after a rain and tend to support earlier crops. However, they don’t hold nutrients as well, allowing nutrients to leach out after heavy rains. Clay soils are harder to work with and stay wet longer, but have a more complex and available supply of nutrients. With all of the factors taken into consideration strawberries grow best in loamy soils. Loamy soils have a richer texture, hold in nutrients needed for optimal growth and hold in moisture for the plant’s roots to absorb). Allow students time to complete all written responses following the above parameters of writing.
  2. Extension Activity: Take the soil samples in pots (from previous activity) and plant different vegetables, along with strawberry plants. Care for the plants daily, and water them regularly. Document plant growth and take notice which plants are growing better or not at all. Make connections with previous documentation on soil activity.
  3. Students will need to measure the growth of each plant weekly and record the amount of water given to the plants. Use this opportunity to teach measurement, both length and capacity.
    1. Length Video: https://www.khanacademy.org/math/early-math/cc-early-math-measure-data-topic/cc-early-math-measuring-length/v/measuring-lengths-with-different-units
    2. Capacity Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJXTIGlhNNs
  4. Monitor students and support them in observation and documentation. Ask students, “Do certain plants require different types of soil for best growth?” Students should write information based on findings, not on personal opinion. Continue this process for as long as you are able, possibly through the remainder of the school year and have students enjoy taste testing with the vegetables/fruits that are produced.

This activity may also be done in a raised bed garden and/or a container garden. Strawberry raised beds don’t have to be fancy to be a great learning opportunity.

Activity 4: Students will design a strawberry garden in a project-based learning assignment focused on understanding how multiplication and area are related to the process.

Standards: 3.MD.B.4, 3.MD.C.5, 3.MD.C.7 3.NBT.A.3

Materials:

  • White board
  • Markers
  • Document camera
  • Technology (computer/iPad/SMART Board)
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Green construction paper
  • Cardboard
  • Paper cups
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Scissors
  • Straws
  • Duct tape

Essential Question: Are farmers important to our community?

  1. After learning and gaining background knowledge from how strawberries grow and where they grow best, explain to students that they are going to be designing their own strawberry garden, patch, and/or raised bed.
  2. Prior to beginning the lesson gather materials from around the classroom: popsicle sticks, glue, tape, green construction paper, cardboard, paper cups, pipe cleaners, scissors, straws, duct tape, etc. Put these materials into tubs or bags that can be provided to each student group prior to beginning the lesson.
  3. Say to students, “Today, you will be creating your own strawberry patch, garden, or raised bed. Keep in mind all the things you have learned about the strawberry plant, how they grow and in what soil they grow best.”
  4. Divide students into groups of 4-5 students, and assign group roles and create group norms.
  5. Explain to students, “You will begin by researching different ways to grow strawberries and determine which method you prefer to grow your strawberries.”
  6. Set parameters and expectations for students to follow to complete this assignment. Say to students, “One stipulation is your strawberries have to be planted in rows and you will create even rows that have 40-50 plants.”
  7. Students’ designs will be their own creation; they will use multiplication and write an explanation using multiplication equations to explain the number of strawberry plants they planted, i.e. I planted 6 rows of strawberries with 50 plants in each row. My multiplication equation is: 6 x 50 = 300 strawberry plants.
  8. Say to students, “Think about how many strawberry plants you plan to plant in your beds. If you plant 25 strawberry plants and you know those plants should produce about 25 quarts of strawberries, how many pounds of strawberries will you have to sell? Imagine nearly 6 gallons of strawberries produced from 25 plants. We know 25 plants will produce 6 gallons of strawberries, because there are 4 quarts in a gallon, so we would divide 25÷4 = 6.25 giving us about 6 gallons of strawberries to sell to the consumer. But, let’s say that we want to sell our strawberries by pounds (lbs.). How many pounds of strawberries will we have to sell from our 25 plants? If it takes approximately 5 lbs. of strawberries to make a gallon, how many lbs. could a farmer sell from 25 strawberry plants? 5 lbs. x 6 gallons = 30. Answer: 30 lbs.” Work out this problem on the white board or chart paper. Walk students through each step.
  9. Say, “Wow! That is a lot to think about, can you imagine a farmer planning this out for thousands of gallons of strawberries to be sold? As you are working through your strawberry patch design, think about how you would solve for how many berries your strawberry patch would produce and whether or not you had a good marketing plan for selling the berries.”
  10. Allow students time to share out their strawberry patch equations and strawberry patch design ideas. This would also be an opportunity for multiplication and division review and/or review of measurement conversions.

Activity 5: Students will understand point of view as they explain the life cycle of a strawberry.

Standards: 3.L.2.3, RL.3.1, RI.3.6, SL.3.4, W.3.2, W.3.6, W.3.7, W.3.8, SL.3.1

Materials:

  • Whiteboard
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Technology (computer/iPad/SMART Board)
  • Book to support point of view. Example: Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cornin

Essential Files/Links (see list on Page 1):

  • Strawberry Life Cycle Sort
  • Life Cycle of a Strawberry Plant
  • Point of View Checklist
  • Strawberry Point of View Writing Template

Essential Question: What is the life cycle of a strawberry plant?

  1. Say, “Today, we are going to dig deeper into understanding more about strawberries. One important part of understanding a plant is understanding how they grow. We have learned a lot about how a strawberry plant grows, but the question is, where did the strawberry plant come from?” Write this in a question on the board.
  2. Say, “Today we are going to learn the life cycle of a strawberry plant.”
  3. Write the words life cycle on the white board. Pose another question to students, “What is a life cycle?” Possible answers: it talks about life, it shows how things grow, it goes in a circle, or all living things have a life cycle. Explain to students, “A life cycle displays the growth and development of a plant or animal, the process is circular and shows that the growing process never stops.”
  4. Say, “We are going to investigate what life cycle means by examining the life cycle of a strawberry plant.”
  5. Assign students to small groups (3-4 students in each). Establish group norms and expectations.
  6. Provide each group with the Strawberry Life Cycle Sort (see Essential Files). Tell students, “We are going to begin by testing what knowledge you already know. First let’s think about a life cycle. ‘Cycle’ means circular.”
  7. Continue explanation and model of the activity. Say, “You are going to take your cards out of the envelope, and working together, you are going to correctly identify the life cycle of the strawberry. The only hint I am giving you is that when it is finished it should be in the shape of a circle.” You may give students any directions and/or hints you feel are most appropriate. For Differentiation: Give some groups (individualized need) the first picture (how it starts and possibly the middle image for clarity). Another form of differentiation would be to number the cards and have students put the images in order by number. This allows all students to participate using the same material just with different expectations, but the same end result.
  8. Allow students 5 minutes to sort through the life cycle, have them practice a few times. As students are working, rotate around the room to each group providing explanations and direction on possible ways to organize the images.

Explanations may include:

  • Seedling stage – daughter plants are propagated (or root themselves)
  • Growing stage – roots, stem and leaves begin to develop
  • Flowering stage – blooms and flowers develop
  • Productive stage – crowns and fruits develop
  • Mature stage – daughter plants and runners
  1. Technology integration: Using an iPad, have students take a picture of their completed life cycle. If possible, have students email the picture to you or simply download the pictures and have them sent to your email. If students are technology savvy, allow them to make a quick blurb using FlipGrid (free online presentation tool). Students can post their blurb and others can comment on their classmate’s posts. Share out posts with the class.

Link to FlipGrid: https://info.flipgrid.com/

  1. On the SMART Board, show students a final copy of the Life Cycle of a Strawberry Plant (see Essential Files).
  2. Ask students, “What do you notice?” Have a whole group discussion explaining all the different points about the growth and development of a strawberry plant.
  3. Writing Activity: Now that students have a good understanding of the life cycle of a strawberry plant, explain to them that they will act as a strawberry and write about all the growth stages from the strawberries’ point of view.
  4. Read a book to students to help them understand point of view. A good option could be Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cornin. Explain to students this is a fictional book, but from the point of view of the worm. Say, “This is a good example of how you may write your own story as a strawberry plant.”
  5. After reading or providing other examples of point of view, explain the point of view parameters and give them a checklist to reference their writing. Point of View Checklist (see Essential Files).

Point of View Writing parameters:

Photo credit: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Authors-Point-of-View-Cheat-Sheet-Freebie-First-Second-Third-Person-3014829
  1. Ask students, “If you are writing this based on the point of view from a growing strawberry plant, what point of view would it be?” Students should respond with first person. Ask students, “What key words should I see in your writing?” Students should respond with words like “I,” “me,” and “my.” Tell students, “This is like the strawberry is talking, but strawberries cannot talk in real-life. We are assigning our strawberries the ability to tell their own story. This is a lot like personification. Personification is giving non-human things human capabilities. Let me give you an example.” Write this sentence on the whiteboard or chart paper. My leaves are growing and white flowers are starting to bloom. I know that soon I will start growing red, ripe strawberries for everyone to eat. Read the sentence to the students or call on a student to read. Say to students, “Notice I used the words ‘I’ and ‘my.’ What point of view is this written in?” Students should respond with first person. Write “first person” atop the sentence or beside the sentence.
  2. Now, write a new sentence. When growing strawberries you have to have soil and black plastic. You have to water the plants with irrigation. You have to keep them covered if the weather is below freezing to protect the growing berries and flowers. Say to students, “Notice I used the word ‘you’ a lot. What point of view is this written in?” Students should respond with second person. Write “second person” atop the second sentence or beside the sentence.
  3. Write a third sentence. The strawberry has green leaves and white flowers. There is a small red berry growing, but it is still white. The strawberry is not ready to be picked yet. Say to students, “Notice I used words like “it” and I referred to the strawberry as the strawberry in my writing. What point of view is this written in?” Students should respond with third person. Write “third person” atop the sentence or beside the sentence.
  4. Next, have students write about the growth of a strawberry plant in their own point of view and illustrate the writing using the Strawberry Point of View Writing Template (see Essential Files).
  5. Allow students to share their point of view writings with each other and compare ideas.

Activity 6: Students will understand the vitamins and nutrients offered by eating strawberries.

Standards: 3.NPA.2, 3.NPA.2.1, 3.NPA.2.3

Materials:

  • Technology (computer/iPad/SMART Board)
  • Pencil

Essential Files/Links (see list on Page 1):

Essential Question: Are strawberries a healthy snack?

  1. Say, “Did you know strawberries have tons of amazing vitamins and nutrients that are great for us?”
  2. Show students a short video clip from the following video choices:
  1. Say, “You are going to use this information to create an infomercial, a brochure, or an article teaching others all about the health benefits of eating strawberries.”
  2. Show students the book, From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to the Strawberry Patch by Heather Barnes and Karen Baltimore.
  3. Read page 27, and draw students’ attention to the sentence, “Strawberries are packed with vitamin C and potassium.”

  1. Share MyPlate with students: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/
  2. Go through and investigate the website, be sure to look at the different food groups. Specifically, draw attention to the fruit group. Show students the daily recommended value of fruit for 4-8 and 9-13-year-olds is about 1½ cups a day.
  3. Share with students that a serving of strawberries or one cup is approximately 8 large berries. Ask, “So, how much Vitamin C and/or potassium are in a serving of strawberries?”
  4. Provide students with iPad/technology and ask them to research this question to see if they can find the answer. They may find conflicting results, as it is the internet. Here are a few reputable websites that have accurate information.
  1. Discuss findings and allow students to work together to create a health brochure to share with other students about the health of strawberries. Students could create an infomercial using an iPad/video recording; students could create an online brochure, a paper brochure, or a video done through Google Meets. Here is a link that may be helpful in creating brochures on Google Drive: https://www.tarheelstateteacher.com/blog/travel-brochure
  2. Before students begin, set parameters and guidelines in completing the assignment and how you will grade their work.
  3. If time permits, allow students to participate in fun, learning games on the MyPlate website: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/browse-by-audience/view-all-audiences/children/kids

Activity 7: Students will tell the story of a strawberry by narrating and illustrating a book.

Standards: W.3.2, W.3.6, W.3.7, W.3.8, SL.3.1

Materials:

Essential Questions:

  • What type of soil will strawberry plants grow best in?
  • Why is soil important to a farmer?
  • What are the parts of a strawberry plant?
  • Are farmers important to our community?
  • What is the life cycle of a strawberry plant?
  • Are strawberries a healthy snack?
  1. Use the What I Learned document from Activity 1 (see Essential Files) to complete the L portion of the KWL chart.
  2. Provide students with all of the assignments they completed throughout the lessons and reference what they learned about strawberries.
  3. Bring all students together in a central area of the classroom and show them different online web tools to create an online book. The book will be titled: It’s a Strawberry Kind of Day in Third Grade. Tools for creating your class book ideas:
  1. Allow students to collaborate and come up with different book ideas or specific pages. Students could even be assigned to groups based on the book parts.
  2. Set up book parts:
    • Title page: It’s a Strawberry Kind of Day in Third Grade
    • Table of Contents
    • Chapters & Chapter Titles
    • Illustrations for chapters and/or creations on the computer
    • Text features (pictures, science experiments or observations, maps, weather conditions, etc.)
  1. Gather all materials and necessary supplies (technology devices and books) to get students started. Say to students, “Alright book authors use your creativity and get started telling others about strawberries.”

Here are some real-life experiences:

Example of Student Work for a Strawberry Book

  1. Say, “The information you have read and learned about will be the background knowledge for our class strawberry book: It’s a Strawberry Kind of Day in Third Grade.” Have fun researching and writing.

Concept Elaboration and Evaluation

  • What are the parts of the strawberry plant?

A strawberry plant has seven distinct parts. The roots, located underground, collect and transport nutrients to the plant parts above ground. The crown or stem is strong and supports the parts of the strawberry above ground. The leaf helps carry out photosynthesis. The white flower serves as the place for bees to pollinate and the area to produce a strawberry. The strawberry, which is the fruit of the plant, will be picked for eating. The runner is a shoot off of the original plant that can produce a daughter plant. See the parts of a strawberry plant identified on Strawberry Diagram (see Essential Files).

  • Which type of soil will strawberry plants grow best in?

Strawberries grow well in many different soil types. Soil type is only one factor in the success of planting. Other factors include how much organic matter (humus) is in the soil, the availability of nutrients (fertility), the presence of soil-borne diseases, and the land the farmer has available to plant his crops. Sandy soils are easy to work into the raised beds that strawberry growers use; the soil can be worked more rapidly after a rain and tend to support earlier crops. However, they don’t hold nutrients as well, as nutrients tend to leach out after heavy rains. Clay soils are harder to work with and stay wet longer, but have a more complex and available supply of nutrients. With all of these factors taken into consideration, strawberries grow best in loamy soils. Loamy soils and the various combinations such as sandy loam and clay loam are in between these other types of soils. Meaning loamy soils consist of sand, silt, and clay Loamy soil will hold water, but drain slowly. Loamy soils are also rich in nutrients and minerals for optimal plant growth and loose enough for roots to grow strong and spread.

  • Why is soil important to a farmer?

For the farmer, the soil is very important if the plants are to grow healthy and produce many strawberries. Plants will grow best if the right balance of nutrients, minerals, elasticity (how well the soil sticks together), water absorbency, and air is achieved. Strawberries are able to grow in a variety of soils, but the farmer must be aware of the characteristics of soil in the field they know how often to water, what fertilizer or supplements needs to be added and when to add them. Strawberry growers add materials like lime, fertilizer, and compost to the field in the summer before they make the beds and cover them with plastic. Then, while the plants are growing, they usually add soluble nutrients to the water that is delivered to the plants through their drip irrigation tape.

  • Are farmers important to our community?

Farmers are essential to the needs of the community. Students should recognize that most of the food they eat was grown on a farm, processed in a factory, and sent to the store where consumers purchase it. These foods are available year- round in supermarkets and restaurants. Fresh produce is now available year-round because it comes from farms in many parts of the U.S. and from other countries, but North Carolina farmers grow lots of fruits and vegetables. The produce from local farmers is available during the part of the year when our climate allows them to be grown and harvested.

  • What is the life cycle of a strawberry plant?

Strawberries are perennial plants.  The same plant can survive and bear fruit many years, spreading out by adding new plants near it from its runners. This is how many home gardeners and some commercial growers, mostly in more northern areas, raise their strawberries. Among commercial growers, this practice is generally called “matted row.” Strawberry farmers in the Southeast (as well as in Florida and California) raise their strawberries as annual plants, harvesting them for only one year. North Carolina farmers set out their plants in the fall (September/October), harvest them in the spring (April-June), and then turn the plants under and start all over again the next fall with new plants. Planting on black plastic helps keep the plants growing during the winter so there can be a good harvest the following spring. These first year plants are very productive and have large fruit; those growers who choose to keep plants for a second year of harvest find that berries tend to be much smaller; in addition, plants that are carried over through the summer don’t do well with the North Carolina summer heat and are much more likely to get diseases in the heat and humidity that will then affect the next summer’s crop.

  • Are strawberries a healthy snack?

The answer to this question is, yes!  Strawberries are very healthy to eat. They are a great source of many vitamins and minerals we need to sustain a healthy body.  Strawberries are packed with Vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. One serving of fresh strawberries has only 50 calories and are a significant source of fiber.

Suggested Companion Resources

National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes

Agriculture and the Environment

  • Explain how the interaction of the sun, soil, water, and weather in plant and animal growth impacts agricultural production
  • Identify the major ecosystems and agro-ecosystems in their community or region (e.g., hardwood forests, conifers, grasslands, and deserts) with agro-ecosystems (e.g., grazing areas and crop growing regions)
  • Recognize the natural resources used in agricultural practices to produce food, feed, clothing, landscaping plants, and fuel (e.g., soil, water, air, plants, animals, and minerals)

Plant, Animals, Food, Fiber, and Energy

  • Understand the concept of stewardship and identify ways farmers/ranchers care for soil, water, plants, and animals

Food, Health, and Lifestyle

  • Describe the necessary food components of a healthy diet using the current dietary guidelines
  • Diagram the path of production for a processed product, from farm to table
  • Identify food sources of required food nutrients

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

  • Compare simple tools to complex modern machines used in agricultural systems to improve efficiency and reduce labor
  • Identify examples of how the knowledge of inherited traits is applied to farmed plants and animals in order to meet specific objectives (i.e., increased yields, better nutrition, etc.)
  • Provide examples of science being applied in farming for food, clothing, and shelter products

Culture, Society, and Geography

  • Discover that there are many jobs in agriculture
  • Explain the value of agriculture and how it is important in daily life

NC Standard Course of Study

English/Language Arts

RL.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

RI.3.6 Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.

RI.3.7 Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).

W.3.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

W.3.6 With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

W.3.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.

W.3.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.

SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

SL.3.1c Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others.

SL.3.1d Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.

SL.3.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

Science

3.L.2 Understand how plants survive in their environments.

3.L.2.1 Remember the function of the following structures as it relates to the survival of plants in their environments: • Roots – absorb nutrients • Stems – provide support • Leaves – synthesize food • Flowers – attract pollinators and produce seeds for reproduction.

3.L.2.2 Explain how environmental conditions determine how well plants survive and grow.

3.L.2.3 Summarize the distinct stages of the life cycle of seed plants.

3.L.2.4 Explain how the basic properties (texture and capacity to hold water) and components (sand, clay and humus) of soil determine the ability of soil to support the growth and survival of many plants.

Math

3.MD.B.4 Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units— whole numbers, halves, or quarters.

3.MD.C.5 Recognize area as an attribute of plane figures and understand concepts of area measurement.

3.MD.C.7 Relate area to the operations of multiplication and addition.

3.NBT.A.3 Multiply one-digit whole numbers by multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 (e.g., 9 × 80, 5 × 60) using strategies based on place value and properties of operations.

Health

3.NPA.2 Understand the importance of consuming a variety of nutrient dense foods and beverages in moderation.

3.NPA.2.1 Identify source of a variety of foods.

3.NPA.2.3 Recognize appropriate portion sizes of foods for most Americans.

Sources and Credits

  1. https://www.morningagclips.com/2019-n-c-strawberry-season-under-way/
  2. https://burke.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/strawberries-in-the-home-garden-copy.pdf?fwd=no
  3. https://ncstrawberry.com/consumers/consumer-information
  4. https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/north-carolina/state-food-agriculture-symbol/strawberry
  5. https://strawberryplants.org/strawberry-plant/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18211020

Additional Links

http://www.ncagr.gov/SWC/findyourdistrict.html

http://www.myamericanfarm.org/classroom/games

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnA67qAo09E

http://brobichaud.pbworks.com/w/page/27565767/Life Cycle of a http://www.schoolrack.com/mcisek/task/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk6rP_4wpvk

 

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