Students will gain a deeper understanding of cell structure, genetic traits, plant life cycle, hybridization, ecosystems, and health factors as it pertains to strawberries.
Reading, Science, Health
Abiotic factors: non-living things in an ecosystem, such as sunlight, wind, clouds, water, rocks, energy, temperature, and soil.
Antioxidants: substances that inhibit oxidation in living organisms and remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents.
Biotic factors: living things in an ecosystem, such as plants, animals, trees, and microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria, and algae.
Commensalism: as association between two organisms in which one benefits and the other is neither benefited nor harmed.
Consumer: a person who purchases or uses goods and services.
Cultivated: grown on a farm to be sold for consumption.
Daughter plant: a plant that is naturally reproduced through the mother plant.
DNA: deoxyribonucleic acid, a self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms as the carrier of genetic information.
Dominant: influential or prominent.
Ecosystem: a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.
Gene: a unit of heredity that is transferred from parent to offspring and determines some characteristic of the offspring.
Heredity: the transmission of genetic characteristics from parents to offspring.
Hybridization: the process of plant breeding with an individual of another species or variety.
Hybrid: new form of species.
Life cycle: a series of changes in the life of an organism including reproduction.
Minerals: solid, inorganic substances of natural occurrence.
Mutualism: an association between two organisms that is beneficial to both organisms involved.
Neutralism: an association between two organisms that does not have an effect on the evolutionary fitness of each other.
Nutrients: substances that provide nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life.
Nutritional value: the content of food and the impact it has on the body.
Offspring: the descendants of a person, animal, or plant.
Parasitism: relationship between two organisms in which one benefits at the expense of the other.
Parent plant (mother plant): an organism that has produced one or more organisms similar to itself.
Plant breeders: scientists who develop new plant varieties.
Plugs: small-sized seedlings, often grown in trays ready to be transplanted into a larger area.
Producer: a person or country, that makes, grows, or supplies goods.
Propagation: the breeding of an organism (plant) by natural processes from the parent stock.
Punnett square: a square diagram used to predict genotypes of a particular cross or breeding experiment named after Reginald C. Punnett, who invented this approach.
Recessive: relating to or denoting heritable characteristics controlled by genes that are expressed in offspring only when inherited by both parents.
Runner: a shoot or branch off of the strawberry plant often referred to as a “daughter plant.”
Strawberry: a sweet, soft, red fruit with a seed-studded surface.
Traits: observable, physical characteristics obtained through genetic inheritance.
Transplanted: to be moved or transferred to another place or situation.
Vitamins: any group of organic compounds, which are essential for normal growth and nutrition.
Strawberries are unique! Did you know strawberries are the only fruit that wear seeds on the outside? Most fruits that are categorized as “berries” contain their seeds inside the fruit; however, strawberries are not considered a true berry. Strawberries are a member of the rose family. There are several different fruits and berries that belong to the rose family including raspberries, blackberries, cherries, apples, and pears. Strawberry plants are perennials. That means if you plant one it will grow back year after year, but most strawberry farmers do not use this method. Instead they purchase strawberry plugs, which are young, small strawberry plants that are grown and then transplanted in the farmer’s strawberry patch. Strawberries are also the first fruit to ripen in the spring, and no other small fruit produces berries as soon after planting as strawberry plants.2
Strawberries have many health benefits. Listed here are a few facts to better understand their health benefits.
In North Carolina, strawberry farmers plant in the fall, around late September through early October, depending on the location. The plants are planted as transplants in rows on raised beds. The raised beds are covered with a special plastic that is typically black in color. This plastic serves as a weed barrier, increases soil warmth through insulation, holds in moisture, and provides a clean surface for strawberries to grow and ripen. Between the rows, rye grass is often planted to prevent soil erosion. Throughout the growing season, farmers watch the weather for rain and extreme temperatures that drop below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower). They irrigate the berries in dry conditions with watering systems, such as sprinklers or drip tape laid beneath the black plastic. Additionally, during winter months, with below freezing temperatures sprinkler systems are used to provide a layer of ice as a barrier for frost protection for the strawberry plants. Strawberries are typically harvested in late April through May, and can continue to June, depending on weather and location.
Did you know that if an average of 25 strawberry plants were planted, these plants and the resulting runner plants would produce 25 quarts of strawberries? Imagine nearly 6 gallons of strawberries produced from 25 plants.2 If it takes approximately 5 lbs. of strawberries to make a gallon, how many lbs. could a farmer sell from 25 strawberry plants? Answer: 30 lbs.
Before you begin identify any food allergies among the students. Provide them with a few favorite breakfast and snack foods such as a strawberry pop tart, fruit roll-up, and any other foods with strawberry as an ingredient. Allow students to conduct a taste-testing party. Ask students, “What is your favorite snack food you sampled today? What is the common feature 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: 6.L.1.1, 6.L.1.2, W.6.2.A, 7.L.1.2, 8.L.5.1
Essential Files/Links (see list on Page 1 for downloadable files):
Essential Question: Are humans the only living thing made up of cells?
Extension: Challenge students to create a 3-dimensional model of either a plant, animal, or simple cell. Allow students to display their work in the classroom. Use the website below as a guide to what students should include in their cell design.
Extension: To support research and understanding of cell types, specifically the DNA related to strawberries, have students write a research paper documenting the process of a plant cell and how their learning of cells relates to their understanding of strawberries. Note: Students should note that strawberry DNA is located in the nucleus of the plant cell. Students should include the processes of each cell part. Additionally, students should include what cells need to survive, such as sunlight (the processes of photosynthesis) and water (the process of osmosis through the cell wall).
Standards: 7.L.1, 7.L.2, 7.L.2.2, 7.L.2.3, W.7.1, W.7.1.A, W.8.1, W.8.1.A, W.8.1.B
Essential Question: What determines the traits of a strawberry?
Students will respond with a variety of answers. The key is for them to realize that our traits make us who we are.
Extension: Opinion Writing: “Who cares the most about strawberry varieties?” Have students write an opinion piece explaining their response to this question with factual information gained from research. Explain to students they will take the knowledge of genetics and DNA, and their knowledge of strawberry varieties to conduct research to determine how this impacts farmers and consumers. Be sure to use appropriate opinion writing expectations, which includes an introduction with topic statement, a body, and closing remarks. The paper should be about 5 paragraphs in length. Note: Ensure students are using agriculturally literate websites with accurate information:
Extension: Opinion Writing: “Which strawberry variety is the best?” Pose this scenario to students: Imagine you are a farmer growing strawberries; you are among several neighbors who are also growing strawberries. You have to plan out what you will use to gain consumer interest, while still maintaining cost and labor. You also have to decide which varieties of strawberries you are going to plant and when you are going to plant them. Research the different types of strawberries and decide which variety you would grow and explain why. Note: Remember that some strawberry farmers plant different varieties so they have strawberries coming off all season. Be sure to use appropriate opinion writing expectations, which include an introduction with a topic statement, a body, and closing remarks. The paper should be about 5 paragraphs in length. Note: Ensure students are using agriculturally literate websites with accurate information:
Standards: 6.L.1.1, W.6.2.B, W.6.7, 7.L.2.1, 7.L.2.2, 7.L.2.3, W.7.7, W.8.7
Essential Files/Links (see list on Page 1 for downloadable files)
Extension: Research the origination of the strawberry. Say to students, “Scientists believe the first cultivated strawberry originated from Fragaria x ananassa as an accidental hybrid between F. chiloensis, which grows along the western seaboard of North and South America, and F. virginiana which is a woodland species mostly found in eastern North America.”
Show students a Map of the United States of America (see Essential Files) to illustrate the influence settlers have had on our world. Make them aware that both varieties were eaten by indigenous people before they were brought to Europe and before the mid-16th century, where they were then cultivated separately. Provide students with a technology device and have them research the history of strawberries. Ensure you are using agriculturally literate websites with accurate information, such as:
Standards: W.7.2, W.7.2.A, 7.L.2.2, 7.L.2.3, W.8.2, W.8.2.A, W.8.2.B
Essential Question: What is hybridization?
This 5-minute video highlights strawberry production at a California farm, describes how strawberries are selectively bred for specific traits, and explains how strawberries are packaged for shipping all over the United States.
Extension: Explanation Writing: When shopping for strawberries you may see some labeled “GMO free” or “Non-GMO”. Does this mean a container of strawberries that does not have this label is filled with berries that are GMOs? Some companies use this label as a marketing technique because many consumers assume if they see this label on a product there must be a GMO option. Currently, there are only 10 foods that have a GMO option, and strawberries are NOT one of them. Gather research to explain what GMO means, then research the food products that are GMO. After research write a half page explanation about GMO products.
Extension: Opinion Writing: “How can strawberries be improved?” Allow students time to conduct research on how farmers have “changed” certain produce items through selective crossing or hybridization and explain the difference between the two. Strawberries are not GMOs. New varieties of strawberries have only been created through hybridization. Do you feel this is the best way to create new varieties? Do you think it needs to be changed or improved? Why or why not?
Examples of other produce that is changed through selective crossing or hybridization include the production of seedless watermelons and grapes, strains of corn and wheat that are disease resistant, dwarf trees, and the production of tangelos and broccoflowers. Allow students to further research these different foods to support their learning.
Standards: 6.L.1, 7.L.1, 7.P.2, 8.P.1
Essential Question: How is DNA extraction important in agriculture?
Extension: Expansion on understanding of Force & Motion: While students are conducting strawberry DNA experiment have them to think about the force and motion, and energy transfer that is taking place during their work. Provide Students with Force & Motion Connections Sheet (see Essential Files). Note: Students should identify force is being applied to mash up the strawberry. Students may also realize that suction is a type of force and in using their pipette they are using suction to pull out material from the strawberry mixture.
Extension: Expansion on understanding of Properties of Matter: While students are conducting strawberry DNA experiment ask them to classify the materials and objects being used as solids, liquids, or gases. Provide students with Properties of Matter Connections Sheet (see Essential Files). Note: Students should identify that the strawberry is a solid. They are using a buffer solution (water and dish soap), which is a liquid to alter the state of the strawberry.
Standards: 6.L.2.1, 6.L.2.3, W.6.2, 8.L.3, 8.L.3.1, 8.L.3.2, 8.L.3.3, W.8.2
Say to students, “Great job. Now I want to tell you why it is important for us to pay attention to the creatures in ecosystems. Insects/animals and plants live within the same ecosystem. Imagine you are a farmer growing strawberries. Do you think it is important for the farmer to understand the ecosystem and how it works?” Allow students to respond. Possible answers: Yes, farmers have to know the soil type. Yes, farmers have to know what may eat the strawberries or the strawberry plants. To solidify understanding, show students a video of a North Carolina Strawberry farmer answering the question, Do farmers have to think about ecosystems? See link here: https://www.ncfarmtoschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Strawberry-Ag-in-the-Classroom-3.mp4
Extension: After students have completed their ecosystem project have them write a paper explaining these areas:
Standards: 6.NPA.1, 6.NPA.1.2, 6.NPA.1.3, 7.L.1.4, 7.NPA.1, 7.NPA.1.1, 7.NPA.1.2, 8.NPA.1.2, 8.L.5.1, 8.L.5.2
Essential Question: Are strawberries a healthy snack?
Allow students further reading and clarification of the digestive system here:
Extension: Apply MyPlate meal planning by researching food recipes that use strawberries. Distinguish the healthy foods versus the non-healthy choices.
No. Humans are not the only living things made up of cells. In fact, all living things are made up of cells. There are simple cells (such as a bacterium), animal cells (human and animal), and plant cells. Each of these cells has special characteristics and shape unique to them. Cells are important because they are the basic building blocks of all living things. All cells found in living things carry DNA and other information that allows function and survival.
DNA determines the traits of a strawberry. How? DNA is heredity material in humans and almost all other organisms; DNA is what guides living organisms to exist and function. Traits are passed down from parents to their children through DNA. The piece of DNA that carries the trait is called a gene. A trait is an observable, physical characteristic obtained through genetic inheritance. Genes are passed down from the parent or mother plant to the daughter plant. Strawberry farmers pay close attention to the traits of the strawberries to determine which variety they want to grow.
Yes, but strawberries are unique because they can be grown in other ways too. Strawberries can be grown from seeds. However, strawberries almost never (except perhaps for alpine types) are grown from seed. Like most fruit crops, they are vegetatively propagated, from a plant part and not seed. One important reason is that this ensures that the offspring will be “true-to-type,” basically clones of the parent plants. Strawberries make this easier than some because they naturally propagate prolifically through their runners and daughter plants. Farmers and gardeners have been raising strawberries from the runners ever since strawberries were domesticated.
Strawberries are perennial plants. The same plant can survive and bear fruit for many years through the formation of new plants on 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. Growers who choose to keep plants for a second year of harvest find that berries tend to be much smaller. Additionally, plants that are carried over through the summer don’t do well in North Carolina and are more likely to develop diseases from the heat and humidity; ultimately, affecting next summer’s crop.
Hybridization is the act of mixing different species or varieties of animals or plants to produce hybrids (a new form of species). The most common type of hybridization involves crossing two organisms of different breeds (in cultivated plants, these are called varieties or cultivars) within the same species. This is also called crossbreeding. In agriculture, it is used to create healthier crops, or varieties that combine good features of the two parents or new flavors. One example of cross-species hybridization is the tangelo, a cross between a tangerine and a pomelo. In agriculture, it is vitally important to maintain genetic diversity, and by extension, the health and longevity of a crop. Hybridization is not to be confused with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) which involve inserting a foreign agent (such as a bacterium) or genetics of a totally different type of organism into a separate organism to produce desired results. www.wishfarms.com/genetically-modified-organisms-gmos- explained/
When we think of DNA we often think of health and science. Although this is accurate, it goes deeper than just health and basic science. DNA extraction is very important to the science of agriculture because the DNA identifies the genetic code of all living things such as strawberries. The process of DNA extraction is an important component of agricultural biotechnology, allowing plant and animal breeders to accurately select for desirable traits. In strawberry plants, farmers and scientists look at desirable traits, extract strawberry DNA to verify the genetic code, and use a process called hybridization to cross plants in creating a new more desirable product.
Yes! Farmers have to be aware of the surroundings, organisms, environment and other factors that make up an ecosystem. Here are a few things a strawberry farmer will consider:
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.
Yes! With only 50 calories in a serving (about a cup 6-9 berries) strawberries are packed with many nutrients and health benefits. Strawberries are a great source of nutrients including: vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. They are rich in antioxidants and provide additional benefits including healthy conditions for eyes, brain activity, and prenatal development for expecting mothers.
Agriculture and the Environment
Plant, Animals, Food, Fiber, and Energy
Food, Health, and Lifestyle
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
W.6.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
W.6.2.A Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
W.6.2.B Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
W.6.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
W.7.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
W.7.1.A Introduce claim(s), acknowledge alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
W.7.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
W.7.2.A Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
W.7.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.
W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
W.8.1.A Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
W.8.1.B Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
W.8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
W.8.2.A Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
W.8.2.B Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
W.8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
6.L.1 Understand the structures, processes and behaviors of plants that enable them to survive and reproduce.
6.L.1.1 Summarize the basic structures and functions of flowering plants required for survival, reproduction and defense.
6.L.1.2 Explain the significance of the processes of photosynthesis, respiration, and transpiration to the survival of green plants and other organisms.
6.L.2.1 Summarize how energy derived from the sun is used by plants to produce sugars (photosynthesis) and is transferred within food chains and food webs (terrestrial and aquatic) from producers to consumers to decomposers.
6.L.2.3 Summarize how the abiotic factors (temperature, water, sunlight, and soil quality) of biomes (freshwater, marine, forest, grasslands, desert, Tundra) affect the ability of organisms to grow, survive and/or create their own food through photosynthesis.
7.L.1 Understand the processes, structures and functions of living organisms that enable them to survive, reproduce and carry out the basic functions of life.
7.L.1.2 Compare the structures and functions of plant and animal cells, including major organelles (cell) membrane, cell wall, nucleus, chloroplasts, mitochondria, and vacuoles).
7.L.2.1 Explain why offspring that result from sexual reproduction (fertilization and meiosis) have greater variation than offspring that result from asexual reproduction (budding and mitosis).
7.L.2 Understand the relationship of the mechanisms of cellular reproduction, patterns of inheritance and external factors to potential variation among offspring.
7.L.2.2 Infer patterns of heredity using information from Punnett squares and pedigree analysis.
7.L.2.3 Explain the impact of the environment and lifestyle choices on biological inheritance (to include common genetic diseases) and survival.
7.L.1.4 Summarize the general functions of the major systems of the human body (digestion, respiration, reproduction, circulation, and excretion) and ways that these systems interact with each other to sustain life.
7.P.2 Understand forms of energy, energy transfer and transformation and conservation in mechanical systems.
8.L.3 Understand how organisms interact with and respond to the biotic and abiotic components of their environment.
8.L.3.1 Explain how factors such as food, water, shelter and space affect populations in an ecosystem.
8.L.3.2 Summarize the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers including the positive and negative consequences of such interactions including: Coexistence and cooperation, competition (predator/prey), parasitism and/or mutualism.
8.L.3.3 Explain how the flow of energy within food webs is interconnected with the cycling of matter (including water, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen).
8.L.5.1 Summarize how food provides the energy and the molecules required for building materials, growth and survival of all organisms (to include plants).
8.L.5.2 Explain the relationship among a healthy diet, exercise, and the general health of the body (emphasis on the relationship between respiration and digestion).
8.P.1 Understand the properties of matter and changes that occur when matter interacts in an open and closed container.
6.NPA.1 Analyze tools such as Dietary Guidelines and Food Facts Label as they relate to the planning of healthy nutrition and fitness.
6.NPA.1.2 Evaluate Food Facts label with the advertisement of nutrition choices and allowable claims on food labels.
6.NPA.1.3 Apply MyPlate meal-planning guides to ethnic and vegetarian choices.
7.NPA.1 Apply tools (MyPlate, Food Facts Label) to plan and employ healthy nutrition and fitness.
7.NPA.1.1 Use the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to eat nutrient dense foods in moderation.
7.NPA.1.2 Analyze Food Facts Labels for nutrients such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
8.NPA.1.2 Summarize the benefit of consuming adequate amounts of vitamins A, E, and C, magnesium, calcium, iron, fiber, folic acid, and water in a variety of foods.
http://brobichaud.pbworks.com/w/page/27565767/Life Cycle of a http://www.schoolrack.com/mcisek/task/
Lessons supported by: