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Strawberries, in Second Grade!

Overview

Purpose

The purpose of this unit is for students to understand the life cycle of a strawberry plant and how they are grown through interactive activities and applications involving weather tools, clocks, bar graphs, and letter writing.

Subject Area(s)

Reading, Science, Math, Social Studies

Essential Files/Links

Vocabulary

Analog clock: a clock that displays time by hands on a dial rather than by digital numbers.

Anemometer: an instrument that measures the speed of wind or other gases.

Attribute: a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.

Barometer: an instrument measuring atmospheric pressure, used for forecasting weather and determining altitude.

Cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west directions often notated on maps and other documents: N-North, S-South, E-East, and W-West.

Celsius: a scale of temperature whereas water freezes at 0 degrees and boils at 100 degrees.

Community: a group of people living in the same place or having characteristics in common.

Consumer: a person who purchases goods and services.

Crops: cultivated plants that are grown as food, such as grains, fruits, or vegetables.

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.

Digital clock: a clock that displays time in numerical digits.

Fahrenheit: a scale of temperature whereas water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 degrees.

Farm: an area of land used for growing crops and raising livestock.

Farmer’s Market: a food market where local farmers sell fruit, vegetables and other goods directly to consumers.

Flower: the seed bearing parts 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.

Hour: period of time, usually denoted by 60 minute time intervals.

Intercardinal directions: the directions in between each cardinal direction: northeast (NE), northwest (NW), southeast (SE), and southwest (SW).

Leaves: flattened structures of a plant attached to stems where photosynthesis and transpiration take place.

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

Minute: period of time equal to 60 seconds; there are 60 minutes in 1 hour.

Parent plant: an organism that has produced one or more organisms similar to itself.

Plasticulture: the use of plastic in agriculture practices to grow and produce food.

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

Position: a place where something has been placed.

Precipitation: rain, snow, or hail that falls to the ground.

Producer: a person or country, that makes, grows, or supplies goods for sale.

Propagation: the breeding of an organism (plant) by natural processes from the parent stock.

Rain gauge: an instrument used to measure and gather liquid precipitation over a period of time.

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.”

Seed: a flowering plant’s unit of reproduction.

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.

Standard units: a measurement often used such as inch, foot, centimeter, or liter. A standard unit of measurement remains the same and does not change. For example, an inch ruler is used to measure different objects’ length in inches.

Sundial: an instrument showing the time from the shadow of a pointer cast by the sun onto a plate marked with hours of the day.

Temperature: a measure of the warmth or coldness of an object or substance with reference to some standard value.

Transplant: process of moving a fully germinated seedling or a mature plant and replanting it in a permanent location for the growing season.

Water cycle: cycle of processes where water circulates between the earth’s oceans, atmosphere, and land, involving precipitation as rain and snow, drainage in streams and rivers, and returning to the atmosphere by evaporation and transpiration.

Wind speed: speed of the wind, measured by the speed of blowing air.

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 participate in weather rotations to gain an understanding of weather tools and their importance to farmers.

Standards: 2.E.1.2, 2.E.1.4, 2.MD.7, W.2.8, SL.2.1

Materials:

  • Weather tools: barometers, thermometer, anemometer, and water cycle diagram (if possible)
  • Windsock craft materials
  • Rain gauge
  • Water cycle chart
  • Indoor/Outdoor thermometer
  • Whiteboard
  • Pencil/eraser
  • Chart paper
  • Markers

Essential Files/Links:

  • Station Cards
  • Weather Journal
  • Weather Journal Interactive Copy

Essential Question: Why is weather important to strawberry farmers?

  1. Weather Station Prep: Before the lesson begins set up four stations with weather tools to include, but not limited to these items:
    • Barometer/Wind Direction: iPad/technology device, windsock craft materials
    • Precipitation/Water Cycle: iPad/technology device, rain gauge, water cycle chart
    • Anemometer/Wind Speed: iPad/technology device
    • Temperature: iPad/technology device, outdoor thermometer, indoor thermometer
  2. Bring students together as a whole group in a central location in the classroom. They will need a pencil and eraser.
  3. Pose the question, “Why is weather important to farmers?” Accept all reasonable answers.
  4. Next, say to students, “Today, we are going to be farmers, scientists, weather experts, and meteorologists as we learn the different weather tools that help us measure and document weather.”
  5. Have a class discussion about key weather terms. Provide each student with a Weather Journal (see Essential Files). Show students the inside of their booklet and explain each section.
  6. Complete the first page of weather words together. Multiple display options: A hardcopy could be completed on a document camera showing examples for students to view or you could use the interactive PowerPoint and have students type in definitions of weather words using the Weather Journal Interactive Copy (see Essential Files).
  7. Assign students to groups (4-5 students in each preferably) and explain the group rotations. Say to students, “In your group you will rotate through each weather station. You will have about 15 minutes at each station; in this 15 minute rotation you will research, examine and document your findings in your Weather Journal (see Essential Files).” Show students each station and highlight the words on each Station Card (see Essential Files).
  8. Set station norms and expectations for all students; it is possible to even assign group roles as a way to ensure all students participate equally.
  9. Explain to students how each station will work. Say, “As you enter into your rotation, begin by watching the video on your technology device. Watch the video as a group and take a few minutes to discuss what you learned from the video, and take notes if you wish on key points from the video. After watching the video, take time to examine the weather tools at your station. Imagine how this weather tool is used and determine its importance to farmers.”
  10. Video Links:
  1. Allow students to complete more pages of their Weather Journals (see Essential Files), and if possible, allow students to create their own weather tool as a STEM activity.

Activity 2: Students will examine black plastic used for growing strawberries for understanding the properties of matter and their physical changes.

Standards: 2.E.1.1, 2.E.1.2, 2.E.1.4, W.2.5, W.2.6, RI.2.5, RI. 2.7

Materials:

  • Black, plastic trash bag
  • String
  • Rubber band
  • 2 pots/planters
  • Soil
  • Soil thermometer
  • Technology devices (computer/iPad/SMART Board)
  • Document camera
  • Chart paper
  • Markers

Essential Files/Links:

  • Prediction Writing Assignment (Activity 2)
  • From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to the Strawberry Patch by Heather Barnes and Karen Baltimore (book)

Essential Questions:

  • Why is weather important to strawberry farmers?
  • Are farmers important to our community?
  1. 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. Begin by taking a picture walk through the book and stop at pages (8-9).
  2. Read this line to students, “Strawberry farmers often use a method called Plasticulture, the practice of raising crops with a plastic film covering the ground (usually raised beds), has a number of benefits for the farmer. Some of these benefits include retention of heat in the soil, retention of moisture in the strawberry bed, and retention of nutrients, minerals, and other added substances used to control weeds and diseases. In North Carolina, strawberry farmers typically use black plastic that is very thin and flexible; however, other states across the United States of America use other colors such as white or clear to prevent the plants and growing fruit from getting too hot.”
  3. Ask students, “So, why is using plastic to grow strawberries important?” Accept reasonable responses.
  4. Tell students, “We are going to be talking about temperature and how to use a thermometer. I want you to understand how a thermometer and temperature are used in real life situations such as strawberry farming.” This is a great teaching moment to distinguish the differences between traditional thermometers we use to check human temperature or outdoor temperature versus a soil thermometer used to check soil temperature.
  5. Create a t-chart to compare other thermometers and a soil thermometer or use Comparing thermometers in Essential Files.
  6. Show students a video explaining the use of thermometers, specifically the design and meaning of Fahrenheit and Celsius.
    • The Thermometer Song (song for kids about temperature):
  1. Say, “Now, we are going to apply our knowledge of measuring temperature by observing this activity.” Note: You could allow students to do this activity in small groups or conduct the experiment as a whole group activity.
  2. Explain to the students, “I have two planters with soil. For planter #1, I have taken a piece of black plastic from a trash bag and secured it around the planter with a piece of string and/or rubber band. I have left Planter #2 uncovered. Next, I am going to measure the soil temperature from each planter with a thermometer.” Note: To measure the soil temperature in the covered planter, loosen the string and lift one side of the trash bag and insert the thermometer into the soil.
  3. On chart paper, create a T-chart. Label one side ‘Black Plastic’ and the other column ‘Uncovered.’ Record the beginning soil temperature for both planters.
  4. Place each pot in the windowsill of the classroom. After several hours or after one day take the soil temperatures again. Record the findings on the chart paper. Ask students, “Were there changes? If so, what changes occurred and why?”
  5. Discuss with students as a whole group. Students should have detected that the soil covered with black plastic was higher in temperature.
  6. Use the Prediction Writing Assignment (see Essential Files) for students to answer why farmers cover rows with black plastic. Instruct students to make a summative statement or prediction of why farmers use the black plastic and explain why it is beneficial.
  7. Allow students to view the book From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to the Strawberry Patch to gain a deeper understanding and text evidence in supporting their reasoning for their prediction writing.
  8. In closing, explain to students the purpose behind the black plastic and why weather and temperature are extremely important to a strawberry farmer. Some explanations could include:
    • Retention of heat in the soil (higher soil temperatures) allows crops to grow earlier in the spring and into the fall/winter seasons.
    • The warmer soil temperatures permit strawberry plants to produce roots during the winter when the leaves of the plants are not visibly growing.
    • The heat from the plastic keeps the soil at a slightly warmer temperature to protect the roots from freezing.
  9. As an exit ticket, ask students, “Can you think of any other ways or techniques to provide warmer soil temperatures?”

Activity 3: Students will examine the life cycle of a strawberry and compare it to various other plants and animals.

Standards: W.2.2, W.2.5, W.2.6, W.2.7, W.2.8, 2.L.1.1, SL.2.1

Materials:

  • White board
  • Markers
  • Strawberries (from grocery store or local strawberry farm)
  • Document camera
  • Technology devices (computer/iPad/SMART board)

Essential Files/Links (see list on Page 1 for downloadable files)

  • Life Cycle of a Strawberry Plant
  • Strawberry Life Cycle Sort
  • Top Hat Comparison Chart
  • Venn diagram

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

  1. Say, “Today, we are going to dig deeper into the understanding of strawberries. One very important part of understanding plants is examining how they grow.”
  2. Write the words life cycle on the white board. Pose the question to students, “What is a life cycle?” Possible answers: it refers to life, it shows how things grow, or it follows a circle. Explain to students, “A life cycle shows the growth and development of a plant or animal, the process is circular and represents the growing process never stopping.”
  3. Say, “We are going to investigate what life cycle means by investigating the life cycle of a strawberry plant.”
  4. Assign students to small groups (3-4 students in each). Establish group norms and expectations.
  5. Provide each group with the Strawberry Life Cycle Sort (see Essential Files). Tell students, “We are going to begin by testing your current knowledge. First, let’s think about a life cycle. ‘Cycle’ means circular. What words stand out to you?” Students should identify the word circle. Provide praise and encouragement to students.
  6. Continue explanation and model of the activity. Say, “You are going to take your cards out of the envelope and examine the pictures. While working together, try to correctly identify the life cycle of the strawberry. Remember, your finished product should be in the shape of a circle.” You may give students any directions and/or hints you feel is most appropriate. For Differentiation: Give some groups (individualized need) the first picture (how it starts) and the middle image for clarity. Another form of differentiation would be to number the cards and have students place the images in order by number. This allows all students to participate using the same material just with different expectations, but with the same result.
  7. Allow students 10 minutes to sort through the life cycle, and have them practice a few times. As students are working, review each group’s progress and provide direction on possible ways to organize the images, if needed. Some explanation may include:
    • Propagation stage – daughter plants are propagated (or root themselves)
    • Growing stage – roots, crown, stems, and leaves begin to develop
    • Flowering stage – flowers develop
    • Productive stage – fruits develop
    • Mature stage – daughter plants and runners develop
  1. Technology integration: With an iPad have students take a picture of their completed life cycle. If possible have the students email the picture to you or download the pictures for sending to your email.
  2. Create a PowerPoint, word document, and/or Google document to share the images with the students via the SMART Board. Ask students not to reveal their life cycle while discussing each one as a whole group and explain any misconceptions.
  3. Next, using the SMART Board, show students a final copy of the Life Cycle of a Strawberry Plant (see Essential Files).
  4. Ask students, “What do you notice?” Have a group discussion explaining the different points about the growth and development of a strawberry plant.
  5. Project & Research: Students should now have a good understanding of life cycles and the life cycle of a strawberry.
    • Explain to students that they will choose a plant or animal to compare to the growth of a strawberry plant.
    • Students can work in groups or with a partner.
    • Students will select a plant or animal to compare to the growth of a strawberry plant.
    • With a partner, have students use a book from the library or technology (computer/iPad) to research a different plant or animal.
    • After research time (allow 20-30 minutes), provide students with a Venn diagram (see Essential Files) or Top Hat Comparison Chart (see Essential Files).
    • Students will complete their comparison chart independently using information gained from their research.

Venn diagram: Students will compare and contrast plants/animals. With a Venn diagram, two circles overlap to form a center that stand for similarities (comparison of two organisms) and the outer part of the circles stand for differences (contrast of two organisms).

Top Hat Comparison Chart: This chart is a compare/contrast chart. The top two rectangles drawn vertically stand for the differences (contrast of two organisms) and the bottom rectangle drawn horizontally stands for similarities (comparing two organisms). The rectangles form together an image similar of a “top hat.”

  1. Presentation: Students will share their comparison chart research with the class. Possible presentation methods include: individual student presentation, small group presentations, or gallery walk.

Gallery walk: Students will place their work on their desk. Instruct students to stand up in front of their desk and/or area. Tell students that when entering a museum or art gallery you are to be respectful and reverent (quiet and polite). Students will walk quietly around the room viewing classmates’ work, without speaking or touching other students’ work.  Students will rotate through the classroom to view all work. One extension could be allowing them to leave notes of encouragement or questions for further understanding while they are participating in the gallery walk.

  1. Videos to show for deeper understanding and support:

Activity 4: Students will use the strawberry plant to understand the purpose of the sun as a source of light to warm the land, air, and water.

Standards: 2.E.1.1, 2.MD.7, 2.MD.10, SL.2.1, 2.G.1.1

Materials:

  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Sundial (if possible)
  • Digital clock
  • Analog clock
  • Strawberry plants (one per student if possible)
  • Soil
  • Pots or raised bed garden
  • Black plastic
  • Gloves
  • Watering cans

Essential Files/Links:

  • Analog Clock
  • A Year in the Life of Strawberry Poster
  • Sun Timesheet

Essential Questions:

  • Why is weather important to strawberry farmers?
  • Are farmers important to our community?
  1. Begin by telling students, “We have learned a lot about the life cycle of a strawberry and how it grows. Today we are going to apply our knowledge by observing where we could plant our own strawberry plants.”
  2. Take students on a nature walk outside. Say to students, “As we are walking pay attention to the sun; I want you to notice where the sun is shining the brightest on the ground and what you see in these places.”
  3. After the nature walk, bring students back inside or have them sit outside in a large group. Discuss their findings.
  4. On chart paper, atop the page write: What would a farmer do?
  5. Say to students, “If you have ever been to a farm you have probably noticed that farmers plant their crops in open fields where the sun can shine on their plants all day. This is no different for a strawberry farmer. Strawberry farmers like to pick certain places where the sun is just right.” Ask the question, “Why do you think this is important?” Write student responses from discussion on the chart paper.
  6. At the bottom of the paper write: This all matters because…
  7. Say to students, “This all matters because the position of the sun can be very important when growing crops, especially our strawberries. We are going to become meteorologists/scientists/farmers/data trackers and we are going to chart the position of the sun and the time of day the sun is in certain positions.”
  8. Show students an example of a sundial. A sundial is a clock that people used to tell time by the sun’s position. Now we use digital and analog clocks that tell time for us. Show students an example of a digital clock and an analog clock. Say, “Before we get started we first have to be comfortable in using an analog clock.”
  9. Project: Students will create their own analog clock using Analog Clock (see Essential Files).
  10. Show students a video of using an analog clock and show students an interactive analog clock on the computer.
  1. Provide students with a Sun Timesheet (see Essential Files). Say, “We are going to observe the position of the sun throughout the day over the next few days. You will chart the location by drawing a picture of the sun and where it shines brightest in the yard. Don’t forget to record the time of day. You will document the hour and the minute.  Remember to add a.m. and p.m. to your time, as well.”
  2. After a few days of observation and data collection create a bar graph or line plot with the times of the day. Chart the number of times each student documented the sun’s position at 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. You are welcome to choose other times if more convenient to your instructional day. Ask students, “Where is the shadow?” Explain to them they have to keep track of the shadows they see at different areas of the yard to determine where the sun is shining the longest.
  3. Once you have compiled the data, explain to students that they need to find the location that receives the most amount of sun for the longest period of time. After students have determined the area with the longest exposure to the sun, explain to them that this is how a farmer determines the best location to plant his strawberry plants.

Extension: Plant your own Strawberry Plant

  1. Bring students together in a central location in the classroom and share A Year in the Life of a Strawberry Poster (see Essential Files) with them. Talk with them about the similarities between what they learned about the life cycle of the strawberry plant to the poster’s display of steps.
  2. Materials you will need: strawberry plant (one per student), planters/pots or raised bed garden, soil, black plastic, gloves, spade, watering cans, and water.
  3. Allow students to fill the container with soil and plant the strawberry plant in the container. Students will need to water their plant each day. Place each strawberry plant in an area with lots of sunlight.

Activity 5: Students will identify parts of a plant, similarities and differences, and resemblance to parent plants.

Standards: 2.L.2.1, 2.L.2.2, SL.2.1, W.2.8

Materials:

  • Technology devices (computer/iPad/SMART Board)
  • Document camera
  • Book about seasons: A Year at a Farm by Nicholas Harris or From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to the Strawberry Patch by Heather Barnes and Karen Baltimore
  • Pencil

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

  • Diagram of a Strawberry Plant
  • Strawberry Trait Exit Ticket
  • Blank Strawberry Plant Diagram

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

  1. Introduce students to different varieties of strawberries by showing pictures of the different kinds of strawberries grown in North Carolina.

Common North Carolina Varieties:

See Link here: https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/berries.jpg

Explain to students that, just like us, we are all different, but have lots of similarities too.  Say, “We are all different varieties.”

  1. Have a group discussion, and say to students, “Have you ever noticed that you and people in your family have similarities? Sometimes you may have the same hair color, eye color, actions, etc. What if I told you that plant varieties are the same and they also resemble their families?”
  2. Say, “Let’s look back at our strawberry plant varieties. What similarities do you see? What differences?” Create a Venn diagram with two varieties.

Identify together: both plants have roots, stems, leaves, fruits, flowers, runner, etc. These are examples of their similarities. As you are discussing the similarities with students, be sure to add that strawberries are actually in the rose family (possibly show students an image of a rose shrub).

Identify together: one variety is grown in a warmer climate, the berries are larger on one strawberry plant than the other, one variety has rounder berries and the other berries come to a point at the bottom of the fruit.

  1. Assign students partners and have them choose two other fruits or vegetables to compare and contrast using a Venn diagram. Some groups can compare celery and potatoes, tomatoes, and corn, carrots and apples, oranges and pears, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, collards and broccoli, cauliflower and kohlrabi. Allow students to work together and research the different fruits and vegetables.
  2. Students will complete the Venn diagram to share what they learned with their classmates regarding the similarities and differences of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Explain to students that some plants are from the same families, but farmers and scientists have modified them by cross-breeding different varieties to create a new and improved variety with desired attributes. This is often referred to as a GMO, which means genetically modified organism. Show the video about Jake the GMO seed to students and talk with them about GMO seeds
  1. Next, draw students’ attention back to the class Venn diagram of the two strawberry plants, but this time look closely at one variety. Say, “We have learned that strawberries are grown from other strawberry plants this is called propagation. This means that scientists/farmers/gardeners take the runners and create a new daughter plant. These plants are sold either as “bare root” plants or rooted in soil as a plug.”
  2. Pose this question, “We have learned that farmers often use propagation, which means the daughter plant comes from the parent plant. Based on our learning do you think the daughter plant will look just like the parent plant? Write your answer on your Strawberry Trait Exit Ticket (see Essential Files).”
  3. Collect students’ responses. Next, explain to students, “A daughter plant will look and grow exactly like the parent plant. This is why farmers often use propagation to produce their strawberry plants; because it is predictable.”
  4. If possible, show students a picture and/or video of strawberry plants, the parent plant and the runner, which will become the daughter plant.
  1. Also, show students the Diagram of a Strawberry Plant (see Essential Files).
  2. Extension: Students will learn more detailed explanations of the function of each plant part by acting out each part of the plant:
  3. Provide each student with a Blank Strawberry Plant Diagram (see Essential Files).
  4. Provide explanations for each strawberry plant part, and give students the function of each part:
    • 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. Strawberry plants have a special part of the stem, called a crown.
    • 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.

Activity 6: Students will use appropriate conventions, greetings, and possessives in a narrative letter written to a strawberry farmer.

Standards: W.2.3, L.2.2, L.2.2B, L.2.2C, L.2.3, SL.2.1

Materials:

  • Technology devices (computer/iPad/SMART Board)
  • Document camera
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Crayons/colored pencils
  • White copy paper
  • Envelopes
  • Stamps

Essential Files/Links:

  • Strawberry Letter Template
  •  From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to the Strawberry Patch by Heather Barnes and Karen Baltimore (book)

Essential Question: Are farmers important to our community?

  1. Begin lesson by showing students a handwritten letter. In society today we hardly see this type of writing because we use email, text messages or a simple phone call. Explain to students that long ago, before cell phones, before computers, even before telephones the only means of communicating with people you didn’t live with was writing and mailing letters.
  2. Show students the standard components of a letter. Say, “The letter always begins with a greeting. Let’s think of all the ways we could open a letter with a greeting.”
  3. Search the internet for different letter greetings. Next, explain to students that a “greeting” is followed by a comma. The comma signifies there is more to come.
  4. Say, “Now we have to create the body of our letter, this means what our letter is going to communicate to the reader. We plan out our thoughts, feelings, and ideas before we start writing the body of our letter.”
  5. In small groups, allow students to revisit the book From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to the Strawberry Patch. This book can be accessed as a PDF on a computer or iPad, and this would be a great technology integration to have the book downloaded onto a technology device and allow students to read on this platform. Use the link in Essential Files.
  6. Tell students to work together and determine important details they have learned about strawberry farmers and how they grow strawberries. Say, “We will use information we gained from our lessons and from our reading to include in our letter to a strawberry farmer.”
  7. Bring students back together in a central classroom location. On an anchor chart, begin writing down student takeaways from the book. Ask students, “What do you think is important to include in the body of our strawberry letter?” Guide students by giving them sentence examples, i.e. I learned that strawberry farmers use black plastic on the soil to protect the berries from disease and rot. We tried to see how black plastic worked with an experiment in class. We learned that the black plastic also makes the soil warmer so strawberry plants can grow faster.
  8. Continue with different guiding sentences and create sentences together.
  9. As you are creating sentences, explain to students the importance of using commas to separate thoughts or lists of items. Explain to students the difference between a comma and an apostrophe. Show students examples of an apostrophe and provide examples. Example: Farmer’s black plastic. The apostrophe signifies ownership or possession. Expand on more examples to ensure student knowledge of common conventions of Standard English.
  10. Say to students, “Finally, we end our letter with a closing. There are many examples and ways to close a letter. Let’s search different styles of closings to letters.”
  11. Now that students have a good understanding of writing a narrative letter, provide students with a Strawberry Letter Template (see Essential Files).
  12. Allow students to write a rough draft then complete their final draft on the Strawberry Letter Template. Allow students to peer edit and illustrate pictures on their letter to a strawberry farmer.
  13. Once letters are complete, send letters to a local strawberry farmer or to the NC Strawberry Association to distribute to strawberry farmers. Find local strawberry farmers here: https://www.ncfarmfresh.com
  14. Extension: Demonstrate and model how to address and put a stamp on a letter, and show students how letters are delivered. After letters are mailed, make contact with the strawberry farmer to ensure they received the letter and invite the farmer to come into your classroom to meet the students that wrote the letters and/or chat by live video.

Activity 7: Through interactive play students will understand how the relationship between the producer and consumer works, how to use money when purchasing good and services, understand maps and cardinal locations, and apply measurement to real life objects.

Standards: 2.MD.A.1, 2.MD.A.2, 2.MD.A.3, 2.E.1.2, 2.E.1.5, 2.MD.2.8

Materials:

  • Technology devices (computer/iPad/SMART Board)
  • 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
  • Map of North Carolina
  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Basket/crate
  • Potting soil
  • Globe/world map
  • Plain paper
  • Crayons
  • Bulletin board paper
  • Chalk
  • Ruler
  • Yardstick/meter stick

Essential Files/Links:

  • From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to the Strawberry Patch by Heather Barnes and Karen Baltimore (book)

Essential Question: Are farmers important to our community?

  1. Prior to the lesson, set up an area with a “farm stand” equipped with baskets, a cash register, pretend money, and plastic strawberries.
  2. On whiteboard or chart paper, write the words: producer, consumer, goods, needs, and wants. Also, include a chart explaining money (specifically: penny, nickel, dime, quarter, a one dollar, a five dollar, a ten dollar, and a twenty dollar).
  3. Show students a short video about a Trip to the Farmer’s Market
  4. Divide students into three to four groups. Explain to students they will be moving through rotations learning about: producer and consumers, how to count money, interactive play at a “farmer’s market” or “farm stand” and more.
  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, others sell directly from their farm, and others sell at local farmer’s markets. Ask students, “Think about your local community, do you know of any farmer’s markets or local produce stands?”
  6. Say to students, “Some of you will be acting as the farmer collecting your strawberries, others will be the consumer coming to buy the strawberries, and some will be the person selling the goods to the consumer.”
  7. Write producer and consumer on chart paper. Explain to students the role of the producer and consumer, and write the definition of each on the chart paper. Say to students, “For this rotation you will act out the producer, which is a farmer who grows strawberry plants and the consumer, which is a person buying the product, or in this case, strawberries.”
  8. Rotation 1: Role of the Producer and Consumer (2.E.1.2)

Allow students to brainstorm their ideas and interact with each other and talk about what they saw on the video.

  1. After discussion and reenactment of purchasing strawberries, ask students a few questions. Say, “As a producer is it important to have a product that looks good? As a consumer is it important that the product is what you want to buy?”
  2. Have students stop and write a few things they learned about producers and consumers. Ask, “Why do you think this is important to a farmer?” Collect written responses.
  3. Rotation 2: Money, Money, Money (2.E.1.5, 2.MD.2.8)

Display a Money Anchor Chart (teacher-created) and have play money and/or money mats for students to practice counting money. Students should be able to identify how many coins it takes to equal one dollar. Students should also be able to identify the value of each coin and bill at this station. Allow students to practice and interact with each other counting out the plastic/play money.

100 pennies = $1.00

10 dimes = $1.00

20 nickels = $1.00

4 quarters = $1.00

  1. Rotation 3: Location, Location, Location (2.G.1.1)

Map Lesson: show students a short map video and explain to them the difference between cardinal directions (North, South, East, West), and intercardinal directions (Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest).

Learn About Maps Video:

Use a map to show students where strawberries are grown in North Carolina. Refer to page 23 in the book, showing students the following image:

  1. Next, explain to students, “Strawberries are grown in different parts of the world, but specifically they are grown in all parts of North Carolina. Strawberries are grown in all three regions of North Carolina.”
  2. Using the map from the book, point out the mountain region, point out the piedmont region, and point out the coastal plain region. After showing students the map from the book, show students a map of North Carolina, and show them their county. Ask students, “Which region are we located (mountain, piedmont, or coastal plain)?” Ask students, “What cardinal direction or intercardinal direction explains the coastal region (north, south, east, west, southeast, northeast, etc.)?”  “Do you think cardinal and intercardinal directions are important to farmers?” Hold a group discussion and gather student responses.
  3. Assessment: 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 and intercardinal directions or 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.
  4. Extension: Have students draw their own map and illustrate pictures of strawberries. Students can even draw their own map of the school or classroom.
  5. Rotation 4: How long is that strawberry plant? (2.MD.A.1, 2.MD.A.2, 2.MD.A.3)

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 different measurement tools and show different examples to students.

Provide student materials. First, give each student an inch ruler, and explain to students that this is a standard unit of measurement because it never changes. Show student examples of other measurement tools: meter stick, yard stick, etc.

  1. Say to students, “You are going to use your ruler to measure different objects at this station including pictures of a strawberry plant, a picture of a shovel, and other pictures of different objects you may find on a strawberry farm. I also want you to imagine what measurement tool would be best to use different things on the farm. For example, the strawberry farmer has to measure this row (show pictures in the book on pages 5, 9, & 13)” Make sure students understand the difference between measuring space in a picture and space in real life. Ask students, “What would you use to measure, an inch ruler or a yard stick?” Students should identify a yardstick because it is larger and would take less time.
  2. Expand student understanding of measurement by assigning other measurement activities/worksheets.

 

Supporting Videos:

Concept Elaboration and Evaluation:

  • Why is weather important to strawberry farmers?

Weather is one of the most crucial variables for strawberry farmers’ success. Each year, they try to determine the best time to set out their plants based on predictions for the coming year. Yields and the start of harvest are affected by when they plant and how cool/warm the weather is in the fall, winter, and spring. The most sensitive period is in the spring, when plants are flowering and frosts can damage or kill the flowers, buds, and developing fruit. Growers then protect their plants with overhead irrigation and/or row covers. During that vulnerable period, growers listen carefully for forecasts of a frost/freeze event in their area. Many have frost alarms that will wake them up at night when temperatures fall to a certain level, so they start their irrigation system (which they have to do before temperatures actually reach freezing). Frost/freeze events happen every year, and strawberry growers are prepared for them. (School gardens will want to watch the weather too, and cover their plants if frost might damage them.)

Other particular weather issues for strawberries:

  1. Very cold weather (below 15-20 degrees F) in December-February can damage plant crowns. Growers sometimes cover plants with row covers during this time.
  2. Hot weather in March-April (above 85-90 degrees F) can kill flowers. Some growers give their plants cooling showers with short bursts of water on these very hot days. They generally don’t continue this practice after harvest starts.
  3. Rain during harvest damages fruit, and makes pick-your-own customers reluctant to come to the farm, and encourages plant diseases. A rainy weekend can be a serious economic loss for a farmer.
  4. Drought is not generally a problem because farmers have drip irrigation. But if it is very dry in the summer, it can be hard to get the land ready, and extended drought can reduce irrigation water supplies in farm ponds.
  5. Do farmers have to think about weather or weather patterns? See it here from an actual strawberry farmer. Video Link:

https://www.ncfarmtoschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Strawberry-Ag-in-the-Classroom-2.mp4

  • 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, by growing runners and new plants off of those 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 heat and are much more likely to get diseases in the heat and humidity that will then affect the next summer’s crop.

  • What are the parts of the strawberry plant?

A strawberry plant has seven distinct parts. The roots, which serve the strawberry plant by collecting nutrients and water from the ground, are under the ground.  The crown or stem is strong and supports the parts of the strawberry above ground.  The leaf helps to carry out photosynthesis.  The white flower serves for the bees to pollinate to produce a strawberry.  The fruit itself growing on the strawberry plant will be picked for others to eat. The runner, which has a shoot off of the original plant, can produce a daughter plant. See a Diagram of a Strawberry Plant (see Essential Files).

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

Plant and Animals for Food, Fiber, & Energy

  • Explain how farmers/ranchers work with the life cycle 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, and 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

Culture, Society, Economy & Geography Outcomes

  • 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

RI.2.7 Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.

RI.2.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.

W.2.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.

W.2.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.

W.2.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

W.2.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).

W.2.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

W.2.3 Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

L.2.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.2.2.B Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.

L.2.2.C Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.

L.2.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

SL.2.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

 

Science

2.E.1.2 Summarize weather conditions using qualitative and quantitative measure to describe: Temperature, Wind direction, Wind speed, Precipitation

2.E.1.1 Summarize how energy from the sun serves as a source of light that warms the land, air, and water.

2.E.1.4 Recognize the tools that scientists use for observing, recording, and predicting weather changes from day to day and during the seasons.

2.L.2.1 Identify ways in which many plants and animals closely resemble their parents in observed appearance and ways they are different.

2.L.2.2 Recognize that there is variation among individuals that are related.

2.L.1.1 Students know that animals experience a cycle of life which begins with birth, then a period of time in which the animal develops into an adult. At adulthood, animals reproduce in order to sustain their species. In nature, all animals are programmed to age and eventually die. The details of the life cycle are different for specific animals.

 

Math

2.MD.7 Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m.

2.MD.2.8 Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately. Example: If you have 2 dimes and 3 pennies, how many cents do you have?

2.MD.10 Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems using information presented in a bar graph.

2.MD.A.1 Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
2.MD.A.2 Measure the length of an object twice, using length units of different lengths for the two measurements; describe how the two measurements relate to the size of the unit chosen.
2.MD.A.3 Estimate lengths using units of inches, feet, centimeters, and meters.

Social Studies

2.G.1.1 Interpret maps of the school and community that contain symbols, legends and cardinal directions.

2.E.1.5 Explain how money is used for saving, spending, borrowing and giving.

2.E.1.2 Explain the roles and impact producers and consumers have on the economy.

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.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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