Students will apply their understanding of the strawberry life cycle and soil types to construct a strawberry patch.
Reading, Science, Math, Health
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.
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
Strawberries have many health benefits. Listed here are a few facts to better understand their health benefits.
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.2 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.
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:
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.
Standards: SL.3.1, SL.3.1c, SL.3.1d
Essential Question: What are the parts of a strawberry plant?
Standards: 3.L.2, 3.L.2.1, SL.3.1, RI.3.7
Essential Files/Links (see list on Page 1):
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).
Standards: 3.L.2.2, 3.L.2.4, 3.MD.B.4
Video Link: https://www.ncfarmtoschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Strawberry-Ag-in-the-Classroom-6.mp4
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.
Standards: 3.MD.B.4, 3.MD.C.5, 3.MD.C.7 3.NBT.A.3
Essential Question: Are farmers important to our community?
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
Essential Question: What is the life cycle of a strawberry plant?
Explanations may include:
Link to FlipGrid: https://info.flipgrid.com/
Point of View Writing parameters:
Standards: 3.NPA.2, 3.NPA.2.1, 3.NPA.2.3
Essential Question: Are strawberries a healthy snack?
Standards: W.3.2, W.3.6, W.3.7, W.3.8, SL.3.1
Here are some real-life experiences:
Example of Student Work for a Strawberry Book
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Agriculture and the Environment
Plant, Animals, Food, Fiber, and Energy
Food, Health, and Lifestyle
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
Culture, Society, and Geography
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.
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.
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.
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.
http://brobichaud.pbworks.com/w/page/27565767/Life Cycle of a http://www.schoolrack.com/mcisek/task/
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