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Strawberries in First Grade, Hooray!




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.


Subject Area(s)

Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies


Essential Files/Links



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.


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.



Activity 1: Students will recognize the “s” and “t” sounds in the word “strawberry” and make connections to beginning letter sounds in words related to strawberries.

Standards: RF.1.3, RF.1.3a, RF.1.3d, L.1.5c


  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Chart paper
  • Crayons
  • Paper

Essential Files/Links:

  • Picture of a Strawberry
  • Strawberry Acrostic Poem
  • Strawberry Sentence Sheet
  1. Display a Picture of a Strawberry (see Essential Files). Write the word Strawberry on the whiteboard. Segment and sound out the word with students: St-raw-berry. Say, “St-raw-berry.” Have students repeat and segment the word.
  2. Identify the consonants and vowels in the word “strawberry” and ask students to identify if they are short or long vowel sounds.
  3. Ask students what letter sounds they hear in the word. Call on students to have them sound out the word, identify letters, and sounds (i.e.‘s’ sound – s, ‘t’ sound – t). Teachers may also use other phonics programs to support letter sound identification (integration and use of technology).
  4. Bring students back to the word Strawberry.
  5. As a class, have students provide words or descriptions of the strawberry.
  6. Next, use the Strawberry Acrostic Poem (see Essential Files) in a whole group setting. Students will look at the beginning letter of the word strawberry and come up with possible describing words (focusing on beginning letter sounds).
  7. List these on the board or chart paper.
  8. Share and Show: Bring students’ attention to a small box or bag of strawberries purchased from a local grocery store. In the state of North Carolina, strawberry season is April-May. During strawberry season you can find fresh, local and delicious berries across the state of North Carolina.
  9. Have students add more specific words and descriptions of the strawberry.
  10. Have students use the Strawberry Sentence Sheet (see Essential Files) to write sentences describing their strawberries.
  11. Extension: Follow up or provide more support for students with Kindergarten syllable counting activity (See Activity 1 in Kindergarten lesson plan Strawberry, I am).
    • Counting syllables: Say, “How many syllables are in the word strawberry? How many syllables do you have in your name?” Allow students to use syllable counting or syllable clapping to hear how the letter/word sounds.
    • Syllable: straw-ber-ry (3 syllables)
    • Now, have students find more words for counting syllables such as their name, favorite fruits, or favorite vegetables.


Activity 2: Students will recognize that roots and stems absorb water from the soil.

Standards: 1.E.2.1, 1.E.2.2, W.1.8, SL.1.1.b, SL.1.1c, SL.1.5


  • Anchor chart
  • Markers
  • Clear containers of soil: dry soil, dirt, clay, and rock
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Straws
  • Chocolate chips
  • Green food coloring
  • Shredded coconut
  • Butterscotch chips
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Whole Oreos
  • Crushed Oreos
  • Sour Straws or Twizzlers
  • Clear cups
  • Spoons
  • Sticky notes or labels
  • Technology (SMART board/computer/iPad)

Essential Files/Links:

  • Layers of Soil Activity
  • Layers of Soil Activity and Soil Rotations
  • Strawberry Plant Diagram
  • Strawberry Observation Sheet

Essential Questions:

  • Why is soil important to a farmer?
  • What are the parts of a strawberry plant?
  • Who do we need to grow and market strawberries?
  • Are farmers important to our community?


  1. Before the lesson, gather all materials including materials needed for Layers of Soil Activity and Soil Rotations (see Essential Files).
  2. Tell students, “Today we are going to imagine we are strawberry farmers and it is time to plant this year’s crop on an area of land called the farm. First, we must remember that strawberries are planted in the fall, typically in early October, and one of the most important parts of planting our strawberries is finding the right soil.”
  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 so important we understand the types of soil we are planting in, and the layers of soil.”
  5. Next, use the Layers of Soil Activity (see Essential Files).
    • Begin by showing students an anchor chart explaining the layers of soil (see image below).
    • Say to students, “Now that we understand the layers of soil we are going to build an edible example.” Provide students with the following supplies (one per student): Chocolate and butterscotch chips mixed together, chocolate pudding, whole Oreos, crushed Oreos, green colored shredded coconut, Sour Straws or Twizzlers, clear cups, spoons, sticky notes or labels.
    • After distributing all materials, ask students a question, “What makes up soil?” Draw students’ attention to the anchor chart of the layers of soil. Explain that today they are going to dig deeper and learn what the layers of soil have to offer our strawberry plants and all plants that we grow.
    • Step 1: Each student should have an empty plastic cup. Ask students to pick up their Oreo cookie and place in the bottom of their cup. This represents bedrock. Bedrock is a solid rock that lies under loose or soft material. It is the outermost layer of the Earth’s crust.
    • Step 2: Instruct students to dump their chocolate and butterscotch morsels on top of their Oreo cookie. This represents the parent material. Parent material is formed from bedrock after a long weathering process; above this layer is where soil layers will be formed.
    • Step 3: Add chocolate pudding (1/2 cup per student). This represents the subsoil. Subsoil offers rich minerals for plants and trees searching for root systems, and water movement directly affects this layer.
    • Step 4: Now students will add the crushed & crumbled Oreos. This represents the topsoil. Topsoil is the top layer of soil. Topsoil provides the rich material and nutrients needed for seed germination.
    • Step 5: Students will place a small amount of green colored shredded coconut.
    • Step 6: Choose a type of candy such as a green Sour Straws or Twizzler, explain to students that this will act as the root system as it pushes through the layers of soil.
    • Step 7: Allow students to admire their work. Provide each student with a spoon to “enjoy” his or her learning of the layers of soil.
  1. Extension: Types of Soil Activity
    • Say to students, “Now that we understand the layers of soil, we can look at the different types of soil.”
    • Show students different clear containers of soil (this may be some you find from home, school, or soil samples can be purchased from different websites). Reach out to your local Soil & Water Association through N.C. Department of Agriculture here https://www.ncagr.gov/swc/ to provide information regarding soil samples or NC Cooperative Extension https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/categories/soil-water-air/. Find your county here https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/local-county-center/
    • Provide students with a copy of the Strawberry Plant Diagram (see Essential Files).
    • Explain to 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 stem takes water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves, flowers, and fruit.” After explaining this to students, call their attention back to the Strawberry Plant Diagram (see Essential Files) and say, “We are going to demonstrate this with a drawing.”
    • Students will draw a picture of the layers of soil and draw the strawberry plant, specifically including the roots and stem.
  1. Types of Soil Rotations: Put students into groups of 2-4, and set up different pots around the room with different types of dry soil, dirt, clay, and rock. Provide each student group with a straw and a pipe cleaner. Before beginning rotations, demonstrate to students how each group will “grow roots and stems” in the soil by gently pushing the straw and the pipe cleaner into each pot. Use Layers of Soil Activity and Soil Rotations (see Essential Files).
    • Provide each student with a Strawberry Observation Sheet (see Essential Files). Model a drawing of the “stem” and the “root” when they have been pulled out of the soil (the pipe cleaner will bend as it goes into the rocky soil, but it will slide easily into the sand and vary as it goes into the clay and topsoil). Have students repeat this process through all different soil rotations. Students will draw each observation on their observation sheet. Bring students back together to discuss all things they learned regarding soil types and the layers of soil.
  2. Extension: Want to know more about soil and soil science? Additional curriculum related to soil can be found at Soil Solutions from NC Cooperative Extension.


Activity 3: Students will use their knowledge of plant parts to understand plant needs for survival.

Standards:  1.L.1.1, 1.L.1.2, 1.L.1.3


  • Pipe cleaners
  • Straws
  • Card stock
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Glue
  • Construction paper
  • Carrots
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Plain paper

Essential Files/Links:

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

Essential Questions:

  • Why is soil important to a farmer?
  • 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 by having students create their own strawberry plant diagram. Provide students with necessary materials.
  3. Using the pipe cleaners and straws utilized in the previous activity have student groups tape the straw to a piece of construction paper, then carefully bend and glue pipe cleaners at the bottom of the straw or underneath. Then provide each group with green leaves and red strawberries to create a strawberry plant diagram.
  4. Have students label their strawberry diagram with Strawberry Word Cards (see Essential Files).
    • 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.
  5. Extension: Edible Parts of a Plant
    • Image used from: https://agclassroom.org/teacher/matrix/lessonplan.cfm?lpid=145

      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.

    • Before beginning the lesson make sure all produce has been carefully washed. All students should wash their hands with soap and water.
    • 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 anchor the plant to the ground while it searches for water and nutrients to help the plant live. What fruit or vegetable item would you choose to represent the roots of the plant?” (Answer: carrots, radishes, sweetpotatoes, and/or potatoes).
    • Say, “Next we have the stem. The stem is very important too. We learned previously that the stem is the pathway that carries the water and nutrients to all parts of the plant. The stem also helps hold the plant firm and steady. What fruit or vegetable item would you choose to represent the stem?” (Answer: celery or asparagus).
      • Say to students, “Now we are going to look at the main parts that are left – the leaves, the flower and the 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 that is produced is what we get to enjoy. What fruit or vegetable item would you choose to represent the remaining parts of the plant?” Students will label each part of the plant. (Answer: strawberries (fruit), green spinach (leaves), broccoli (flower)).
    • Additionally, if purchasing plant parts are too expensive or not an option for the classroom, simply follow this activity by showing students pictures/images of different fruits and vegetables and let them create a drawing using pictures of the different fruits and vegetables.
    • Take a picture of students’ edible creations before inviting students to enjoy their artwork as a snack. Share pictures with parents and businesses that donated vegetables, etc.

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:


Activity 4: Students will gain an understanding of haves, needs, and wants for people and strawberry plants.

Standards: 1.L.1.1, 1.L.1.2, 1.L.1.3


  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Technology (SMART board/computer/iPad)
  • 2 Strawberry plants
  • 2 Pots for planting strawberry plants
  • Watering can
  • Ziploc bag (gallon size)
  • Soil
  • Pencil

Essential Files/Links:

  • Strawberry Plant Diagram
  • Strawberry Observation Booklet

Essential Questions:

  • Why is soil important to a farmer?
  • Who do we need to grow and market strawberries?
  • What are the parts of a strawberry plant?


  1. On chart paper, draw three headings: Have, Need, and Want. Ask students to brainstorm ideas about their haves, needs, and wants. As a group allow students to share their ideas of what a have, a need, and a want might be. Make sure to clear up any misconceptions about our haves, needs, and wants.

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.

  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (optional)
  • Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts (optional)

After reading a short portion or blurb of the book, ask students new perception of haves, needs, and wants.

  1. Say to students, “Did you know this is similar with plants, specifically our strawberry plants; they also exhibit haves, needs and wants.” Show students a picture of a strawberry plant and/or use the Strawberry Plant Diagram (see Essential Files). Extension: provide students the Strawberry Plant Diagram (see Essential Files) to color and illustrate their ideas of have, needs, and wants.
  2. After you have passed out coloring supplies and Strawberry Plant Diagram, say to students, “Let’s brainstorm what we already know about plants.” On chart paper jot down all the thoughts and comments shared by students. Students may identify that plants need water, plants need space, and plants need light. Some may say that plants need food, but remind students that plants make their own food through a process called photosynthesis. Allow students to draw and illustrate their ideas on their individual Strawberry Plant Diagram.
  3. Hands-on/Project Based Learning: Show students a live strawberry plant. Explain to students that they are going to test their ideas and determine what will happen if strawberry plants do not have the basic haves, needs and wants in order to grow and survive.
  4. Pose questions to get spark student thinking, “What would happen if plants did not get water? Or light? Or didn’t have space to grow?”

Extension: If you have high achievers allow them to write a sentence stating their hypothesis of what might happen to the strawberry plant(s).

  1. Bring students outside and have a seat in a nice spot. Show students materials: a pot, potting soil, watering can (pre-filled with water), and strawberry plugs. Allow students to fill the soil, touch the strawberry plants gently, and explore. If possible allow students to work together and plant the strawberry plugs.
  2. Tell students, “We are going to leave one of these strawberry plants outside and one we are going to take back inside with us.” One strawberry plant will be left in a safe place outside and one will be insider. This will help students observe changes and difference in the strawberry plants as you work together to complete the strawberry investigation activity.
  3. Once inside the classroom, provide students with a Strawberry Observation Booklet (see Essential Files). Say to students, “Over the next few days we are going to observe the growth of our strawberry plants to determine if they have all things necessary to survive.”
  4. Strawberry Investigation Activity: Set out the 2 plants. Using labels mark each plant with a list of needs. Each plant needs: sunlight, water, air, and soil.
    • During this activity students will draw a picture of each plant on day 1. They will then draw a picture at the end of Week 1. Students will repeat this process through Week 2 and Week 3.
    • Week 1
      • Plant 1 Control plant – It gets sun, soil in the pot, water when needed, and is left outside in the open air.
      • Plant 2 – Put a plug in a pot to block the drainage hole. Water it at the same time you water Plant 1 BUT place it inside a dark closet. Document in journals Week 1: plant does not get light.
      • After the first week have students draw a picture of each plant (Plant 1 and Plant 2). Continue observations.
    • Week 2
      • Plant 1 Control plant – It gets sun, soil in the pot, water when needed, and is left outside in the open air.
      • Plant 2 – Drainage plug stays in a pot with soil, water it at the same time you water Plant 1 and place it outside, but this time put it inside a Ziploc bag. Document in journals week two: plant does not get air.
      • After Week 2 have students draw a picture of each plant (Plant 1 and Plant 2). Continue observations.
    • Week 3
      • Plant 1 Control plant – It gets sun, soil in the pot, water when needed, and is left in the air.
      • Plant 2 – Drainage plug remains in a pot with soil. Take the plant out of the Ziploc bag and leave outside, but this time do not water the plant. Document in journals Week 3: plant does not get water.
    • Finishing the Activity: At the end of Week 3 have students discuss the changes that are noticed. Take a look at their pictures and ask them about the differences they see. Discuss how the “needs” are important to the plant. Which need appears to be the most important?
  1. Allow students opportunity to share and discuss journals and findings from the Strawberry Investigation Activity. Ask students, “What have you learned about haves, needs, and wants?” “Do you think people and strawberries have something in common?”


Activity 5: Through interactive play students will gain an understanding of farms in relation to the work of producers and consumers.

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


  • Technology (SMART board/computer/iPad)
  • Whiteboard
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Toy cash register
  • Plastic strawberries
  • Bags or baskets
  • Play money
  • Farming tools (soil, dirt, spade, shovel, rake)
  • Farm stand sign (allow students to create)
  • Garden gloves (optional)
  • Shovels (optional)
  • Soil (optional)

Essential Files/Links:

  • Producer and Consumer: What I learned?
  • Strawberry Life Cycle Picture Match

Essential Questions:

  • Are farmers important to our community?
  • Who do we need to grow and market strawberries?


  1. Prior to the lesson, set up an area with a farmer’s market equipped with a few baskets, cash register, pretend money, and plastic strawberries. It would also be extremely helpful to have an area with potting soil, shovels, garden glovers, etc. to make a great place for students to act out being a gardener/farmer. If possible hide/cover in the classroom.
  2. Begin the lesson by showing students a short video about a Trip to the Farmer’s Market.
  1. Say to students, “Now, we are going to try to recreate our own farmer’s market in our classroom.” Show students your set up of the classroom farmer’s market (explorative, real-world play).
  2. Say to students, “We are going to divide into groups so everyone gets to have a turn in our farmers market. Before we do I want to ask you what you know about producers and consumers. On whiteboard or chart paper, write the words: producer and consumer. Students may respond that a consumer buys something and a producer produces things. Make sure students have a good understanding of producer and consumer. Even reference the video to show students a consumer and a producer.
  3. Say to students, “You guys have got a wonderful grasp on producers and consumers. I want to tell you what it will look like in our class farmer’s market. The producer is a farmer who grows strawberry plants and the consumer is the person coming to buy the product or in this case strawberries.
  4. Divide the class into two to four groups (depending on the amount of supplies you have available) and explain to students that today you are going to act out the role of the producer and consumer.
  5. Ask students to think about how this process works in real life. Say, “Have you ever visited a fruit stand or famer’s market?” Explain to students that some farmers sell their produce to local grocery stores, some sell directly from their farm, others sell at local farmer’s markets, and some participate in all three marketing opportunities.
  6. Next, explain to students, “Some of you will act as the farmer/producer collecting strawberries, others will be consumers buying the strawberries, and some will act as employees selling goods to the consumer.” Remind students to follow what they saw in the video as how to reenact their role at the farmer’s market.
    • Student Roles:
      • Producer/farmer: Students will pretend to grow and care for strawberries. Pretend to plant strawberries, pick strawberries, water strawberries, etc.
      • Consumer: Students will pretend to buy strawberries from the farmer’s market or farm stand using money.
      • Cashier: Students will pretend to collect money and use the cash register to put in money that is paid and possibly even give change back to the consumer.
      • Farmer’s market worker: Students will pretend to put out strawberries, make sure the area is clean, and ask if they can help the consumer.
  1. Students will rotate through and experience each of the four roles. Each group should have about 2-3 minutes to experience the role during the group time. Adjust time as necessary for the classroom.
  2. After students have experienced their classroom farmer’s market allow students to return to their seats and work on completing the Producer and Consumer: What I learned? (see Essential Files). This would be a good idea to do in a small group so you could ask deeper questions and guide students with illustrations and writing. Some questions could be: “As a producer is it important to have a product that looks good? What tools are important for helping the producer grow a desirable product for selling? As a consumer is it important that the product be what you want to buy?”

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)

    • Rotation 1: books about strawberries from library or pull up a recording of a book on a laptop for students to watch.
      • Supporting Videos:
    • Rotation 2: Farmer’s Market Pretend Play (see above for student roles).
    • Rotation 3: Complete Producer and Consumer: What I learned? (see Essential Files) with students.
    • Rotation 4: Students can play and match up the strawberry life cycle using the Strawberry Life Cycle Picture Match (see Essential Files).
  1. Collect written responses from students work on Producer and Consumer: What I learned? Discuss with students any questions. Encourage students to create their own farmer’s market at home to enjoy fun and learning.


Activity 6: Through map exploration students will find and locate where strawberries are across the state of North Carolina.

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


  • Technology (SMART board/computer/iPad)
  • Crayons
  • Colored pencils
  • White copy paper
  • Toy cash register
  • Grocery bag(s)
  • Plastic fruit
  • Containers
  • Toy shopping bag
  • Play money
  • Toy steering wheel and/or small 18-wheeler truck
  • North Carolina map
  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Basket/crate
  • Potting soil
  • Globe or world map
  • White copy paper
  • Crayons
  • Bulletin board paper
  • Chalk

Essential Files/Links:

Essential Questions:

  • Are farmers important to our community?


  1. Say to students, “Today we are going to read a book, From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to the Strawberry Patch By Heather Barnes and Karen Baltimore. Talk with students about the title of a book, the author of the book, and the illustrator.
  2. Say to students, “We are going to take a quick picture walk through our book.” Draw student’s attention to different pictures in the book. Example: stop on page 9, and say to students, “This is a strawberry plug, a plug is a small-sized seedling grown in trays to be transplanted into a larger area. This is what we used in our strawberry investigation activity.”
  3. Next, draw students’ attention to page 10, and say, “This is the same as our strawberry diagram example.” Close the page and ask students, “Can you tell me all the parts of the strawberry plant?”
  4. After finishing the picture walk, begin reading the book. Picture walks are very important, especially to front load information, introduce vocabulary, and build schemata. This is very important of our student groups.
  5. After reading, discuss any questions or comments the students may have. Turn to page 23 in the book. Ask students, “What is this a picture of?” Some students will say this is a state, some may say a map, etc. Explain that this is an example of a map.
  6. On the SMART board, bring up a picture of a map. Pose question to students, “Why do we use a map?” Allow students to respond. Explain to students we use a map to know the location of places and to also know were we are going.
  7. Map Lesson (whole group activity): Show students a short map video and explain to them the difference between cardinal directions (North, South, East, West). Say to students, “Stand up! We are going to play a game and make a song. Someone give me a beat or a tune.” As the student is singing/humming the tune say North, South, East, and West. Then start moving your arms above your read, to your toes, to the right and to the left. Make sure you are turned the same way as your students so they do not get confused. Allow students to join in and dance around learning cardinal directions. Say to students, “Okay, we’ve got our wiggles out now, let’s get our brains working.”
  8. Return to the map on page 23. Say to students, “This is a map of North Carolina, the state that we live in. On this map it uses a symbol of strawberries to show where strawberries are grown in North Carolina.”
  9. Show students the short read aloud for the story: Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney
    • Book read aloud: Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney
  10. After listening to the read aloud show students the map on page 23. Say to students, “As we know this map is an outline of our state and on this map are symbols: the strawberries) that shows us where strawberries are grown across North Carolina.” Find your county’s place on the map, next find are place that a strawberry symbol is, closest to your county.
  1. After searching and looking at different local strawberry farms complete Strawberries on the Map (see Essential Files) as a whole group. Talk students through the activity starting with the biggest land mass. Tell students the word continent. Explain that we live on the continent: North America. Next, tell students that we live in a country. Explain that we live in the United States of America. Then, tell students we have been studying a map of North Carolina, we live in the state of North Carolina. Finally, select an address of a strawberry farm found on the strawberry association website. On the last page is a beautiful strawberry to remind students where to find strawberries on a map.

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.


Activity 7: Students will be introduced to standard and non-standard measurement tools for using in a strawberry patch.

Standards: 1.MD.A.1, 1.MD.A.2


  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Technology (computer/SMART board/iPad
  • Unifex cubes
  • Paper clips
  • Print out of objects to measure (strawberries or strawberry plants)

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

  • Strawberry Measurement Activity

Essential Question: Are farmers important to our community?

  1. Begin by asking students, “Do you think measurement is important to farmers? What kinds of tools do you think a farmer may use?” Students may identify that farmers use a ruler, tape measure, etc. Take this time to Google search images for different measurement tools and show different examples to students.
  2. Provide student materials. First, give each student an inch ruler. Explain to students that this is a standard unit of measure because it never changes. Second, provide students with unifex cubes or another non-standard unit (paper clips, erasers, etc.). Explain to students that non-standard units of measure can be used to measure objects, but the units are not always the same.
  1. Measurement Rotations: Assign students to groups (3-4 students in each). Students will take their ruler, pencil, and unifex cubes to each measurement station. Using printed pictures of strawberries or strawberry plants have students measure the size of the strawberries using the Strawberry Measurement Activity (see Essential Files).
  2. Model for students using the unifex cubes for measurement and be sure to show them how they will line them up equally, side by side, to measure accurately.
  3. Next, model for students using a ruler for measurement. Be sure to demonstrate how to line up the ruler at the zero, not the end of the ruler.
  4. Students will document their measurements on the strawberry pictures. Come back together and discuss the measurement tools used and student answers of measurement. Use this time to address misconceptions and guide students through use of measurement.
  5. Explain to students, “Farmers usually don’t spend time measuring the plants, but they measure the area they are going to plant their strawberry plants and may even measure the berries once they are harvested. When farmers plant strawberries, sometimes you may hear them say, ‘I planted an acre of strawberry plants.’”
  6. But say, “I wonder, what is an acre?”
  1. Say, “Hmmm, this gets me thinking, I wonder how many strawberry plants a farmer would plant in an acre? A farmer friend says 15,000-17,500 plants to the acre! That is a lot of plants!”
  2. Say, “Let’s get in touch with a local strawberry farmer and ask them how many plants he/she plant in an acre and how do they measure to get their total number of plants.”


Concept Elaboration and Evaluation

  • 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 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.



  • What are the parts of the strawberry plant?

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).

  • Who do we need to grow and market strawberries?

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.

  • 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, 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.

Suggested Companion Resources


National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes

Agriculture and the Environment

  • Describe how farmers/ranchers use land to grow crops and support livestock
  • Describe the importance of soil and water in raising crops and livestock
  • Identify natural resources
  • Provide examples of how weather patterns affect plant and animal growth for food

Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy

  • Explain how farmers/ranchers work with the lifecycle of plants and animals (planting/breeding) to harvest a crop
  • Identify examples of feed/food products eaten by animals and people
  • Identify the importance of natural resources (e.g., sun, soil, water, minerals) in farming

Food, Health & Lifestyle

  • Identify healthy food options
  • Recognize that agriculture provides our most basic necessities: food, fiber (fabric or clothing), energy, and shelter
  • Understand where different types of foods should be stored safely at home

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

  • Recognize and identify examples of simple tools and machines used in agricultural settings (e.g., levers, screws, pulley, wedge, auger, grinder, gears, etc.)

Culture, Society, Economy & Geography

  • Discuss what a farmer does
  • Explain why farming is important to communities
  • Identify places and methods of exchange for agricultural products in the local area
  • Identify plants and animals grown or raised locally that are used for food, clothing, shelter, and landscapes
  • Identify the people and careers involved from production to consumption of agricultural products


NC Standard Course of Study

English/Language Arts

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

third object.

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).


Social Studies

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.


Sources & 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


Additional Links


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