The purpose of this unit is for students to demonstrate understanding of soil types and soil layers through interactive, hands-on activities while gaining knowledge about the needs of a strawberry plant.
Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies
Bedrock: solid rock underlying loose deposits such as soil.
Cardinal directions: are the directions north, east, south, and west, commonly denoted by the initials N, E, S, and W.
Community: a group of people living in the same place or having characteristics in common.
Consumer: a person who purchases goods and services for personal use.
Continent: any of the world’s main land masses including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America)
Country: a nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory (United States of America).
Crop: a cultivated plant that is grown as food, such as grain, fruit, or a vegetable.
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.
Diagram: a simplified drawing showing the appearance, structure, or workings of an item.
Have: something you possess, own, or hold.
Farm: an area of land used for growing crops and rearing animals.
Farmer’s Market: a food market where local farmers sell fruit and vegetables and other goods directly to consumers.
Flowers: 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.
Goods: merchandise or possessions.
Leaves: a flattened structure of a plant, which is attached to a stem where photosynthesis and transpiration takes place.
Local: a particular area or neighborhood.
Need: something essential or very important.
Non-standard units: units of measurement that are not typically used and vary in size and length, such as measuring a line with paper clips.
Observation: looking or viewing something in order to gain information.
Plant: a living organism typically growing in a permanent site through roots, and synthesizing nutrients in its leaves by photosynthesis.
Parent material: formed from bedrock after a long weathering process; above this layer is where soil layers will be formed.
Plug: a small sized seedling, often grown in trays ready to be transplanted into a larger area.
Producer: a person, or country, that makes, grows, or supplies goods for sale.
Roots: part of the plant growing underground to support the plant and provide water and nutrients by numerous branches and fibers.
Runner: a shoot, or branch off of the strawberry plant often referred to as “daughter plants.”
Services: systems of supplying public need such as transportation, communication, or utilities.
Standard Units: a measurement often used such as inch, foot, centimeter, liter, etc. Standard units of measurement remain the same and do not change. For example, an inch ruler is used to measure different objects’ length in inches.
Seeds: a flowering plant’s unit of reproduction, capable of developing into a plant.
State: a territory considered as an organized political community under one government, a part of a country. (State: North Carolina)
Strawberry: a sweet, soft red fruit with a seed-studded surface.
Stem: the main body or stalk of a plant or shrub.
Subsoil: the soil lying immediately under the surface soil.
Symbol: a graphic or picture used to visually represent a characteristic on a map.
Transplanted: having been moved or transferred to a new place.
Topsoil: the top layer of soil.
Wants: desires to possess or do.
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: RF.1.3, RF.1.3a, RF.1.3d, L.1.5c
Standards: 1.E.2.1, 1.E.2.2, W.1.8, SL.1.1.b, SL.1.1c, SL.1.5
Standards: 1.L.1.1, 1.L.1.2, 1.L.1.3
Collect samples of carrots, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, strawberries, and sunflower seeds. This is an opportunity to involve local produce markets, ask parents, ask local agencies, or ask cafeteria staff/school principal if these consumable items could be donated.
Assessment: Have students label the parts of the strawberry plant and if possible explain what the purpose of each part is using the Blank Strawberry Diagram (see Essential Files).
If you would like additional lesson plans to expand learning of plant parts please see these links from National Ag in the Classroom:
Standards: 1.L.1.1, 1.L.1.2, 1.L.1.3
Extension: This could be a great time to tie in literacy with a book to help students relate haves, needs, and wants. See companion resources for book ideas.
After reading a short portion or blurb of the book, ask students new perception of haves, needs, and wants.
Extension: If you have high achievers allow them to write a sentence stating their hypothesis of what might happen to the strawberry plant(s).
Standards: W.1.8, SL.1.1, SL.1.1a, SL.1.1b, SL1.1c, SL.1.4, L.1.5b, L.1.5c, L.1.6, 1.E.1.2, 1.E.1.1
Extension: If you wanted to do this activity in a rotations/center activity it could easily be done in a group of four rotations: (each rotation should take about 5 minutes each)
Standards: RI.1.4, RI.1.6, RI.1.7, W.1.8, SL.1.1, SL.1.1a, SL.1.1b, SL1.1c, L.1.5c, L.1.6, 1.E.1.2, 1.E.1.1, 1.G.1.1, 1.G.1.2, 1.G.1.3
Extension: Students will complete flipbook My Place on the Map (see Essential Files). Students can fill out their address (great time to learn home address), their town/city (locate town/city where their school is located), name their state (North Carolina), country (United States of America), and finally the continent they live on (North America). This activity can be done at home or at school.
Extension of Assessment of High Achievers: Say, “Can you draw a map of your community? Could you show us how to get to a local strawberry patch?” Have students draw a map of their classroom, their neighborhood, or their community (any one that is easiest for them to understand). Students will use cardinal directions and a compass as they are drawing their community map. After completing their drawing, students will write a sentence using cardinal directions. For example: I live northwest of the firehouse and east of the grocery store. This activity could be done as a whole group and students could design their community on a large piece of bulletin board paper, and each student could be given an area of the community to design. Students should work collaboratively to design the map.
Standards: 1.MD.A.1, 1.MD.A.2
Essential Files/Links (see list on Page 1 for file links):
Essential Question: Are farmers important to our community?
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 so he/she knows how often to water, what fertilizer or supplements need 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.
A strawberry plant has seven distinct parts. The roots, which serve as the nutrient source for the strawberry plant by collecting nutrients and water below the surface of the soil. The crown or stem is strong and supports the parts of the strawberry atop the ground. The leaf helps to carry out photosynthesis. The white flower serves for bees to pollinate to produce a strawberry. The fruit itself growing on the strawberry plant will be picked to eat. The runner is a part of the plant that has a shoot off of the original plant and can produce a daughter plant. This can be seen in the Strawberry Plant Diagram (see Essential Files).
First, we need a farmer. The role of the farmer is varied on the farm. She or He (S/he) is a businessman who interacts with other businesses who will sell the product. S/he must have knowledge of weather. S/he must know how/when the crops grow. S/he must know how much money it will cost to pay the employees, pay truck drivers, and pay for equipment. S/he must know what jobs will be completed during the entire process of growing to harvesting the crops. S/he must know what tools are needed to grow their crops from a seed to harvest. Jobs may include: drivers (tractors, trucks); fall planters (each plug is planted by hand); spring pickers (each strawberry is picked by hand); sellers (at the farm, to the stores, at the stores); and mechanics (able to fix and maintain equipment such as vehicles and watering systems.) These jobs are just a few seen on the farm directly working with the farmer. Once the produce leaves the farm, many other people are involved, such as the grocery store clerk that may sell the produce, the consumer wanting to buy the produce, the employees who stock the shelves and place the produce in bulk sections, the restaurant owner and chef that select the produce they want to put in dishes to serve at restaurants. This doesn’t even begin to name all of the individuals involved in growing, selling, consuming, marketing, and enjoying produce like strawberries that are grown in North Carolina.
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, 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. In season strawberries can be purchased from April to June in North Carolina.
Agriculture and the Environment
Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy
Food, Health & Lifestyle
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
Culture, Society, Economy & Geography
RF.1.3 Know and apply grade level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
RF.1.3a Know the spelling-sound correspondence for common consonant diagraphs.
RF.1.3d Use knowledge that every syllable must have a vowel sound to determine number of syllables in a printed word.
RI.1.4 Ask and answer questions to help determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.
RI.1.6 Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.
RI.1.7 Use the illustrations in a text to describe its key details.
SL.1.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
SL.1.1a Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
SL.1.1b Build on others’ talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges.
SL.1.1c Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion.
SL.1.4 Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.
SL.1.5 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
L.1.5b Define words by category and by one or more key attributes (e.g., a duck is a bird that swims; a tiger is a large cat with stripes).
L.1.5c Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., note places at home that are cozy).
L.1.6 Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).
W.1.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
1.MD.A.1 Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a
1.MD.A.2 Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end; understand that the length measurement of an object is the number of same-size length units that span it with no gaps or overlaps. Limit to contexts where the object being measured is spanned by a whole number of length units with no gaps or overlaps.
1.E.2.1 Summarize the physical properties of Earth materials, including rocks, minerals, soils
and water that make them useful in different ways.
1.E.2.2 Compare the properties of soil samples from different places relating their capacity to retain water, nourish and support the growth of certain plants.
1.L.1.1 Recognize that plants and animals need air, water, light (plants only), space, food and shelter and that these may be found in their environment.
1.L.1.2 Give examples of how the needs of different plants and animals can be met by their environments in North Carolina or different places throughout the world.
1.L.1.3 Summarize ways that humans protect their environment and/or improve conditions for the growth of plants and animals that live there (e.g., reuse or recycle products to avoid littering).
1.G.1.1 Use geographic tools to identify characteristics of various landforms and bodies of water.
1.G.1.2 Give examples showing location of places (home, classroom, school and community).
1.G.1.3 Understand the basic elements of geographic representations using maps (cardinal directions and map symbols).
1.E.1.1 Summarize the various ways in which people earn and use money for goods and services.
1.E.1.2 Identify examples of goods and services in the home, school, and community.
Lessons supported by: