The purpose of this unit is to encourage the understanding for positions of organisms in the environment, classifying objects exhibiting different attributes, the role of farmers, identifying living and non-living things, and weather conditions in each season through strawberry investigations.
Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies
Attribute: a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.
Community: a group of people living in the same place or having characteristics in common.
Crop: a cultivated plant that is grown as food, such as grain, fruit, or 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.
Farm: an area of land used for growing crops and rearing animals.
Farmer’s Market: a food market where local farmers sell fruit, vegetables, and other goods directly to consumers.
Field: an area of open land used for planting crops or pasture for livestock animals.
Flower: the seed bearing part of a plant, consisting of reproductive organs.
Fruit: a fleshy product of a tree or plant that contains seeds.
Greenhouse: a structure where plants that need protection from cold weather are grown.
Leaf: a flattened structure of a plant, which is attached to a stem where photosynthesis and transpiration takes place.
Living: organisms that can grow, breathe, and reproduce.
Need: something essential or very important.
Non-living: things that cannot grow, move, breathe or reproduce.
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.
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.
Roots: part of the plant growing underground which supports the plant and provides water and nutrients by numerous branches and fibers.
Runner: a shoot, or branch off of the strawberry plant often referred to as “daughter plants.”
Strawberry: a sweet, soft, red fruit with a seed-studded surface.
Temperate: a climate that is characterized by mild temperatures.
Tractor: a powerful motor vehicle with large rear wheels used primarily in farming for hauling equipment trailers, planting crops, and harvesting.
Transplanted: having been moved or transferred to a new place.
Strawberries are unique! Did you know strawberries are the only fruit that wear seeds on the outside? Most fruits that are categorized as “berries” contain their seeds inside the fruit; however, strawberries are not considered a true berry. Strawberries are a member of the rose family. There are several different fruits and berries that belong to the rose family including raspberries, blackberries, cherries, apples and pears. Strawberry plants are perennials. That means if you plant one it will grow back year after year, but most strawberry farmers do not use this method. Instead they purchase strawberry plugs, which are young, small strawberry plants that are grown and then transplanted in the farmer’s strawberry patch. Strawberries are also the first fruit to ripen in the spring, and no other small fruit produces berries as soon after planting as strawberry plants.2
Strawberries have many health benefits. Listed here are a few facts to better understand their health benefits.
In North Carolina, strawberry farmers plant in the fall, around late September through early October, depending on the location. Plugs are transplanted into 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 the weather and location.
Did you know that if an average of 25 strawberry plants were planted, these plants and the resulting runner plants would produce 25 quarts of strawberries? Imagine nearly 6 gallons of strawberries produced from 25 plants.2 If it takes approximately 5 lbs. of strawberries to make a gallon, how many lbs. could a farmer sell from 25 strawberry plants? Answer: 30 lbs.
Before you begin identify any food allergies among the students. Provide them with a few favorite breakfast and snack foods such as a strawberry pop tart, fruit roll-up, and any other foods with strawberry as an ingredient. Allow students to conduct a taste-testing party. Ask students, “What is your favorite snack food you sampled today? What is the common feature these different snacks share?” Direct student conversations by explaining that the snack foods they sampled contain strawberries to provide a desirable flavor. Ask students the following questions:
Create a class pictograph, bar graph, or tally chart to display the information. Explain to students the next several days/weeks they are going to be learning more about strawberries and how important they are in our diet and in our community.
Standards: K.P.2.1, K.P.2, RF.K.3
Essential Question: What do strawberries look like?
My strawberry is ________. (red, bumpy, sweet).
My strawberry has ________. (seeds)
My strawberry is ________. (round, long, flat).
My strawberry is _____. (big, small).
Syllable: straw-ber-ry (3 syllables)
Standards: K.P.2, W.K.2
Head, shoulders, knees and toes
Knees and toes, knees and toes
Eyes and ears and mouth and nose
Head, shoulders, hands, elbows
Hands, elbows, hands elbows
Standards: K.L.1.2, SL.K.6, L.K.5.a, b, c, d
Standards: K.P.1, K.P.1.1, K.P.2, K.P.2.1, K.MD.A.1, K.MD.A.2, K.MD.B.3
Essential Question: What are the parts of a strawberry plant?
Supporting: K.P.1.1, K.G.1, K.G.A.1, RI.K.7
Supporting standards: L.K.1, L.K.1e, W.K.3, RF.K.1.c, RF.K.1.d, RF.K.1.b, RF.K.1.a,
Standards: K.E.1.1, K.E.1.2, K.E.1.3
Essential Questions: When is the peak season for strawberry harvest in North Carolina?
“Months of the Year – Song”
January, February, March, April
May, June, July, and August
September, October, November, & December
that’s the twelve months of the year
Extension Lesson Plan: A Year at a Farm K-2 Lesson Plan (see Essential Links).
Standards: K.G.1.1, K.G.2.2, K.E.1.2, K.L.1.2, SL.K.4, SL.K.5, SL.K.6, W.K.2, L.K.2.d, L.K.5.a, K.CC.6, K.CC.3, K.CC.4, K.CC.5, K.MD.A.1
Explain to students, “Strawberries are grown in different parts of the world, but specifically they are grown in all three regions of North Carolina.” Using the map from the book, point out the mountain, piedmont, and coastal plain regions. Now show a map of North Carolina and point out their county. Ask students, “Which region is our school located in (mountain, piedmont, or coastal plain)?” After explaining the region, discuss the weather and climate. Extension: Have students draw their own map and illustrate pictures of strawberries. Students can also draw a map of the school or classroom.
Video: Homegrown: Spring is for North Carolina Strawberries https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q64c7J0Q8jc
Video: Visiting the State Farmers Market https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7uQzis0WTw
Strawberries are a red fruit, with seeds on the outside of the fruit, unlike most fruits. Strawberries have a cap, or green top made up of small leaves. These leaves support the white flower that grows before the strawberry develops.
Strawberries require non-living things to support the growth and function of the plant. Strawberry plants require sunlight, water, and soil to grow. The strawberry plant needs water, nutrients from the soil, and the warm sun to sweeten and ripen the strawberries for picking. Did you also know that the black plastic strawberry farmers use is another non-living thing that supports the growth of strawberry plants? The black plastic serves as a weed barrier, increases soil health through insulation, holds in moisture, and provides a clean surface for strawberries to grow and ripen.
Farmers are essential to the needs of the community in many ways. 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 other countries. However, North Carolina farmers grow various types of fruits and vegetables. Growing practices for growing strawberries such as irrigation, row covers, drip tape and the use of black plastic helps farmers extend the growing season. The produce from local farmers is available during the part of the year when our climate allows them to be grown and harvested. Although this is not a typical practice, some farmers grow strawberries in greenhouses and high tunnels in the off season to extend the growing season in North Carolina.
A strawberry plant has seven distinct parts. The roots, located underground, collect and transport nutrients to the plant parts above ground. The crown or stem is strong and supports the parts of the strawberry above ground. The leaf helps carry out photosynthesis. The white flower serves as the place for bees and other insects to pollinate and is the area to produce a strawberry. The strawberry, which is the fruit of the plant, will be picked for eating. The runner is a shoot off of the original plant that can produce a daughter plant. The strawberry plant diagram is referenced in many of the activities in this lesson is Diagram of a Strawberry Plant (see Essential Files).
First, we need a farmer. The role of the farmer is varied on the farm. He or she is a businessperson who interacts with other businesses who will sell the product. They must have knowledge of the weather, the science of growing strawberries, equipment, economics, employee compensation, and the numerous jobs included for providing strawberries to the consumer. These jobs include, but are not limited to, tractor and truck drivers, fall planters, spring pickers, retail salesman, and mechanics. 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 put out the produce, and the restaurant owner and chef that select the produce to use in dishes at restaurants. This doesn’t begin to name all of the individuals involved in growing, selling, consuming, marketing, and enjoying produce like strawberries that are grown in North Carolina but they all play an important role.
See video link to show students a response from a North Carolina strawberry farmer. Video link: https://www.ncfarmtoschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Strawberry-Ag-in-the-Classroom-7.mp4
Peak season for picking or harvesting strawberries in North Carolina runs from April – May. Traditionally, Mother’s Day is the peak of the growing season. Depending on the spring weather conditions, NC strawberry farms pick 5-8 weeks; however, unusually hot temperatures will shorten picking times and cooler weather will prolong it.
Agriculture and the Environment
Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy
Food, Health & Lifestyle
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
Culture, Society, Economy & Geography
RI.K.7 With prompting, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear (e.g. what person, place, thing, or idea in the text and illustrations depicts).
RF.K.1.a Follow words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page.
RF.K.1.b Recognize that spoken words are represented in written languages by specific sequences of letters.
RF.K.1.c Understand that words are separated by spaces in print.
RF.K.1.d Recognize and name all upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet.
RF.K.3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
L.K.5.a Sort common objects into categories (eg. Shapes, foods) to gain a sense of the concepts the categories represent.
SL.K.4 Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.
SL.K.5 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.
SL.K.6 Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.
W.K.2 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.
W.K.3 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.
L.K.1e Use the most frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, with).
L.K.1 Produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities.
L.K.2.a Capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun.
L.K.2.b Recognize and name end punctuation.
L.K.2.d Spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.
L.K.5.a Sort common objects into categories (e.g. shapes, foods) to gain a sense of concepts the categories represent.
K.CC.3 Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).
K.CC.4 Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
K.CC.5 Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1-20, count out that many objects.
K.CC.6 Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g. by using matching and counting strategies.
K.MD.A.1 Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.
K.MD.A.2 Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has “more of” “less of” the attribute, and describe the difference.
K.MD.B.3 Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.
K.G.A.1 Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.
K.G.1 Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.
K.E.1.3 Compare weather patterns that occur from season to season.
K.P.1 Understand the positions and motions of objects and organisms observed in the environment.
K.P.1.1 Compare relative position of various objects observed in the classroom and outside using position words such as: in front of, behind, between, on top of, under, above, below and beside.
K.P.2 Understand how objects are described based on their physical properties and how they are used.
K.P.2.1 Classify objects by observing physical properties (including size, color, shape, texture, weight, and flexibility).
K.L.1.2 Compare characteristics of living and non-living things in terms of their: structure, growth, changes, movement, and basic needs.
K.G.1.1 Use maps to locate places in the classroom, school and home.
K.G.2.2 Explain ways people use environmental resources to meet basic needs and wants (shelter, food, clothing, etc.).
K.E.1.1 Explain how families have needs and wants.
K.E.1.2 Explain how jobs help people meet their needs and wants.
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