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Strawberry, I am

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Purpose

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.

Subject Area(s)

Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies

Essential Files/Links

  • Strawberry Descriptive Sentence Starters (Activity 1)
  • Strawberry Sorting Mat (Activity 1)
  • Picture of a Strawberry (Activity 1 & 2)
  • Five Senses Booklet (Activity 2)
  • Diagram of a Strawberry Plant (Activity 2/3/6)
  • Living and Non-Living Poster (Activity 3)
  • Living and Non-Living Categories Activity (Activity 3)
  • Strawberry Shapes (Activity 4)
  • Strawberry Word Cards (Activity 4)
  • Blank Strawberry Plant Diagram (Activity 4)
  • Sorting Categories Activity (Activity 4)
  • 2-Dimensional Shape Cards (Activity 4)
  • A Year in the Life of a Strawberry Poster (Activity 5 & 6)
  • Position Word Cards (Activity 5)
  • Strawberry Patch Guided Writing Sentence Strips (Activity 5)
  • Daily Weather Chart (Activity 6)
  • A Year at a Farm K-2 Lesson Plan (Activity 6)
    https://www.ncfb.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/LessonPlanAYearAtAFarm.pdf

Vocabulary

  • 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.

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 and 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. 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.

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 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:

  • 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 they 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 classify objects and identify letter sounds.

Standards: K.P.2.1, K.P.2, RF.K.3

Materials:

  • Whiteboard
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Technology devices (computer/iPad/SMART board)
  • Strawberries (one berry per student), a container of strawberries per group

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

  • Strawberry Descriptive Sentence Starters
  • Strawberry Sorting Mat
  • Picture of a Strawberry

Essential Question: What do strawberries look like?

  1. Display a Picture of a Strawberry (see Essential Files).
  2. Write the word strawberry on the whiteboard. Segment and sound out the word with students: St-raw-ber-ry
  3. Ask students what letter sounds they hear in the word. Call on students to have them sound out the word, identify letters, and sounds (i.e.‘s’ sound – s, ‘t’ sound – t). Teachers may use other phonics programs to support letter sound identification for integration and use of technology.
  4. Bring students back to the word strawberry and display the picture of a strawberry.
  5. As a class, have students provide words or descriptions of the strawberry and list on the board or chart paper.
  6. Share and Show: Bring students’ attention to a small container or bag of strawberries. Strawberries can be purchased year round in any local grocery store; however, in North Carolina, strawberry season is typically April-May.
  7. Have students add more specific words and descriptions for strawberries. Ask guiding questions such as, “What color is it?” Now, pass out one strawberry to each student. Ask more guiding questions such as, “How does the strawberry feel?” Allow time for students to discuss and examine other students’ strawberries.
  8. Record students’ describing words on the whiteboard or chart paper on a word chart. Such describing words should be included: red, bumpy, sweet, long, round, flat, big, and small.
  9. Using directive sentences or sentence starters, have students create a sentence describing their strawberries. Bring students’ attention back to the descriptive word chart completed earlier in the lesson. Ask students to use one of their describing words in their sentence. Provide students with Strawberry Descriptive Sentence Starters (see Essential Files).
  • My strawberry is ________. (red, bumpy, sweet).
  • My strawberry has ________. (seeds)
  • My strawberry is ________. (round, long, flat).
  • My strawberry is _____. (big, small).
  1. Ask students to read their sentences aloud.
  2. Next, students will sort strawberries by color and size using the Strawberry Sorting Mat (see Essential Files). Divide students into small groups (3- 4 students) and provide them with a sorting mat. Students will sort strawberries based on size.
  3. Have students walk around the room to look at all the different sizes of strawberries. Ask, “What are the reasons strawberries can be different sizes?”
  4. Extension – Counting syllables: Say, “How many syllables are in the word strawberry? How many syllables do you have in your name?” Allow students to use syllable counting or syllable clapping to hear how the letter/word sounds.
    Syllable: straw-ber-ry (3 syllables)
  5. Now, have students find more words for counting syllables such as their name, favorite fruits, or favorite vegetables.

Activity 2: Students will use their senses to describe physical properties of objects.

Standards: K.P.2, W.K.2

Materials:

  • Technology devices (computer/iPad/SMART board)
  • Chart paper
  • Markers

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

  • Picture of a Strawberry
  • Five Senses Booklet
  • Diagram of a Strawberry Plant

Essential Question: What do strawberries look like?

  1. Have students gather as a whole group in a designated area in the classroom. Have the students stand up. Tell students they are going to sing a song; one they all know called, “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.” See link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSdeIhmv6v0
    Picture from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/211317407503555514


    Song lyrics
    Head, shoulders, knees and toes
    Knees and toes, knees and toes
    Head, shoulders, knees and toes
    Eyes and ears and mouth and nose
    Head, shoulders, hands, elbows
    Hands, elbows, hands elbows
    Head, shoulders, hands, elbows
    Eyes and ears and mouth and nose
    Head, shoulders, knees and toes
    Knees and toes, knees and toes

  2. Stop students at the verse: “Eyes and ears and mouth and nose.” Ask students to sing the last verse again, “Eyes and ears and mouth and nose.” Ask students to have a seat and say, “Turn and talk to your partner about what each of those words mean: eyes, ears, mouth, and nose?” Provide guiding questions such as, “What do our eyes do? What do our ears do? What does our mouth do? What does our nose do?”
  3. As students are talking, listen carefully to what they are saying. Highlight a few students, and allow them to stand and share their thoughts.
  4. Create a chart with a column for each of the 5 senses. Use the picture as a visual to point out each body part and call on students to describe its responsibility. Under each column, use student responses to record what each of our five senses do and talk about its important function.
  5. Hold up a strawberry. Ask students a series of questions helping them understand each of the five senses as it relates to the strawberry. Use the descriptive word chart from Activity 1 to connect and reinforce learning.
    Ask students, what do you see? Describe the way the strawberry looks.
    Ask students, what do you feel? Describe the way the strawberry feels.
    Ask students, what do you taste? Describe the way the strawberry tastes.
    Ask students, what do you smell? Describe the way the strawberry smells.
    Ask students, what do you hear? Describe what they hear when they are eating the strawberry?
  6. Students will now complete the Five Senses Booklet (see Essential Files). Each student will choose words to describe their strawberry and will write a sentence using these words. Use the describing words chart from Activity 1 to guide students in writing their sentences (i.e., A strawberry feels soft and bumpy.).
  7. Students will read one of their sentences from their Five Senses Booklet aloud to the class.

Activity 3: Students will differentiate between the living parts of a strawberry plant & the non-living components it needs for survival.

Standards: K.L.1.2, SL.K.6, L.K.5.a, b, c, d

Materials:

  • Strawberries (from grocery store or local strawberry farm), at least one per student
  • Document camera
  • Technology devices (computer/iPad/SMART board)
  • Rock

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

  • Picture of a Strawberry
  • Diagram of a Strawberry Plant
  • Living and Non-Living Poster
  • Living and Non-Living Categories Activity

Essential Questions:

  • What non-living things help strawberries grow?
  • Are farmers important to our community?
  1. Hold up a picture of a strawberry, and then place a single strawberry on a plate or under a document camera for all students to view.
  2. Explain to students, “Today we are going to be making observations. What is an observation? An observation is viewing an object to record notes of what we see. We are going to be observing things to determine if they are living or non-living.”
  3. Review with students that plants are examples of a living thing just like humans because they both require things to live or survive. A non-living thing does not require things to help it live. Hold up a rock. Say, “This rock is an example of a non-living thing.” Ask students, “Can someone tell me why this rock is non-living?”
  4. Ask the students, “Do you think this strawberry is a living or a non-living thing?” Say, “If the strawberry grew from the strawberry plant, is the strawberry living or non-living?” Show students pictures of objects for understanding the difference between living and non-living things. Use the Living and Non-Living Poster (see Essential Files) to complete activity as a whole group.
  5. Refer students back to the strawberry. After discussion of living and non-living things, show students the Diagram of a Strawberry Plant (see Essential Files).
  6. Encourage student discussion by saying, “A strawberry is a living organism because it is the fruit that grows from the living strawberry plant, but it depends on non-living things to survive.” Say to students, “Take humans for example, we are living organisms.” Explain to students how our body uses nutrients from food grown by a farmer to provide energy for us to live.
  7. Look back at the living and non-living chart. Ask students, “What do strawberry plants need to survive?” Provide helpful hints such as, “Look outside, what helps the trees and other plants grow?” Students should identify that strawberry plants need soil, nutrients, water, and sunlight to grow.
  8. Explain to students that they will turn and talk to their partner or talk in a small group about non-living things that are important to help strawberries grow.
  9. Students will then complete a Living and Non-living Categories Activity (see Essential Files).
  10. Extension: Have students read and research how sunlight aids plants to grow, how plants acquire water, and obtain nutrients from the soil for producing strawberries. Also, this is an opportunity to talk with students about how hard farmers work to support the growth of a crop, such as strawberries.

Activity 4: Students will identify parts of the strawberry plant and classify their position.

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

Materials:

  • Card stock
  • Sticky putty
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Containers of strawberries (from grocery store or local strawberry farm), one per group
  • Foam shapes
  • Wooden or plastic shape manipulatives, 5 shapes per student
  • Ruler
  • Unifex cubes

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

  • Strawberry Shapes
  • Strawberry Word Cards
  • Blank Strawberry Plant Diagram
  • Sorting Categories Activity
  • 2-Dimensional Shape Cards

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

  1. Have students gather as a whole group in a designated area in the classroom.
  2. Say to the students, “We have learned that a strawberry has many parts.”
  3. Print Strawberry Word Cards (see Essential Files) for this activity. Now, show students word cards: flower, leaf, fruit, runner, daughter plant, roots and crown (stem). Ask students to count as you go through the cards and identify the number of parts for a strawberry plant. Students should be able to identify numbers: 1 through 7.
  4. Ask students to identify the parts of the strawberry plant while using the Strawberry Plant Diagram (see Essential Files). You can encourage the students by saying, “I love the way (student name) is paying attention! I would like (student name) to place our first word card on the correct part of our strawberry plant.” Place sticky putty on the back of the word cards and have students place the correct word card on the diagram for identifying the parts of the strawberry plant.
  5. Discuss the purpose of each part of the plant with the students, as defined in the Vocabulary section. Ask critical thinking questions such as, “Why do you think a strawberry plant has a flower? What does the stem do? What is the purpose of the roots? What is the role of the farmer in caring for strawberry plants?” Then show students the same diagram, but this time without the names of each part of the plant. Using the same word cards, allow different students to come and place the Strawberry Word Cards (see Essential Files) onto the correct part of the strawberry plant as it is displayed on the SMART board.
  6. Say to students, “Now we are going to test our knowledge to see if we can identify the parts of the strawberry without seeing the name of each part.” Show students the Blank Strawberry Plant Diagram (see Essential Files). Use the word cards from the previous activity and call on different students to locate and label the different parts of the strawberry plant.
  7. Now that students have a good understanding of the parts of a strawberry plant, they will participate in a strawberry sorting activity. Say, “As strawberry farmers, it is important that we pay attention to the attributes of our strawberries.” An attribute is a feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something. Talk with students about attributes and create a system to sort the strawberries by color, size, and shape.
  8. Provide students with strawberries. Begin by sorting strawberries in three groups: small, medium, large; color of red: pale, soft red, or dark red; and most important of all, the shape.
  9. Discuss what the color indicates on a strawberry and why this is important when picking strawberries from the field, as strawberries do not ripen after picking. Also, explain to students that there are different categories of strawberries. Show students Strawberry Shapes (see Essential Files).
  10. Next, use the Sorting Categories Activity (see Essential Files) and pair students with a partner or place students in small groups to sort strawberries into different shapes. If available, provide students with a small ruler or small cubes to measure the strawberries.
  11. Reinforce learning by having them compare different strawberry shapes to 2-dimensional shapes. Use 2-Dimenstional Shape Cards (see Essential Files) as a reference for student learning.

Activity 5: Students will compare position of objects in and out of the classroom.

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,

Materials:

  • Technology devices (computer/iPad/SMART board)
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Crayons/Colored Pencils
  • White copy paper
  • From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to the Strawberry Patch by Heather Barnes and Karen Baltimore Printed by North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Publication supported by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agriculture Marketing Service North Carolina (Book)

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

  • Diagram of a Strawberry Plant
  • A Year in the Life of a Strawberry Poster
  • Position Word Cards
  • Strawberry Patch Guided Writing Sentence Strips

Essential Questions:

  • What non-living things help strawberries grow?
  • What do we need to grow and market strawberries?
  • Are farmers important to our community?
  1. Say to students, “Today, you are a farmer or a gardener. It’s strawberry planting season. The plastic has been laid and it is time to plant each plug. A plug is a strawberry plant that has been grown in a temperate environment like a greenhouse. Did you know that you cannot plant a seed to produce strawberries?”
  2. Show students a picture of strawberry plug and/or draw their attention to #4 in A Year in the Life of a Strawberry Poster (see Essential Files).
  3. 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 reading pages 6-9 to students and continue with discussion.
  4. Say to students, “When the farmer is ready to plant his/her strawberry plants he/she has to think about their position. What goes above the ground? What goes below the ground? What is in front of or behind the plant?”
  5. Show students the strawberry plant diagram, Diagram of a Strawberry Plant (see Essential Files). Identify each part of the strawberry plant and discuss with students what part of the plant goes under the ground and what grows on top. Have students also talk about the purpose of the black plastic.
  6. Now, show students a picture of a strawberry field, or show students A Year in the Life of a Strawberry Poster (see Essential Files).
  7. Draw students’ attention to the pictures with black plastic. Ask students, “What do you think the purpose of the black plastic is? Turn and talk with your partner to discuss the purpose of the plastic.” See Background Knowledge for details about black plastic. Ask guiding questions, “Do you think black plastic helps the strawberries? How do farmers lay down the black plastic? Do farmers use tools for lying down the black plastic?” Continue student discussions about the purpose of the black plastic.
  8. Draw students’ attention to more pictures, especially the picture of the strawberry field on the poster and pictures in the book (pages 12-13, 14-15). Show students examples of a local strawberry patch. Have students discuss how the strawberries are set out in the field. Students should explain that strawberries are set in rows. Ask students, “Why do you think strawberries are set in rows?” Students may respond: “So people can walk down the rows,” “So the farmer can pick the strawberries,” “So the strawberries will grow better.” These various responses would be correct.
  9. Continue reading the strawberry book, showing all the processes in planting the strawberries. Stop to draw attention to the strawberry patch on pages 13 and 19.
  10. Use the Position Word Cards (see Essential Files) to review positional words. The following sentences can be used to review how the positional words are related to a strawberry patch: Below my strawberry is black plastic. Beside my strawberry is dirt/soil. I planted my strawberries in rows, in front of each other. I planted my strawberry patch behind my house.
  11. Tell students, “Now, you are going to draw and design your own strawberry patch, like a farmer.” Give students time to draw, color, and label their strawberry patch.
  12. Next, students will use Strawberry Patch Guided Writing Sentence Strips (see Essential Files) to explain their strawberry patch. For example: I planted my strawberries beside each other in a row.
  13. Allow students to share their strawberry patch drawings and post in the hallway.

Activity 6: Students will understand weather conditions that occur in each season while using one or more of their senses.

Standards: K.E.1.1, K.E.1.2, K.E.1.3

Materials:

  • Technology devices (computer/iPad/SMART board)
  • Books about Seasons:
  • Shaving cream
  • Red, yellow, orange, green, and white construction paper (10-15 sheets of each color)
  • Leaves (if season permits)
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach ball
  • Hat
  • Shorts
  • Beach bag

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

  • Daily Weather Chart
  • A Year at a Farm K-2 Lesson Plan

https://www.ncfb.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/LessonPlanAYearAtAFarm.pdf

  • A Year in the Life of a Strawberry Poster

Essential Questions: When is the peak season for strawberry harvest in North Carolina?

  1. Begin by asking students, “How many months are in a year?” Students should be able to identify there are 12 months in the year. Identify and sing the months of the year.“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.See YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5enDRrWyXaw
  2. Tell students, “We are going to take a picture walk through a book explaining seasons.” Examples of agriculture accurate books to help students understand seasons are A Year at a Farm by Nicholas Harris or From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to a Strawberry Patch by Heather Barnes and Karen Baltimore. Say, “We are going to identify all the months in a year. As we are taking our picture walk pay attention to the weather and the surroundings in each month. What do you see?”
  3. Show students a picture of each of the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.
  4. Learning the Seasons Project: Put students into groups of 3-4 students and allow them to rotate through different stations that represent each season:
  • Winter: Provide students with shaving cream or white foam. Have students cover things with the shaving cream or foam, creating a winter scene (i.e. black construction paper or a solid surface).
  • Fall: Provide students with pieces of brown, orange, and red construction paper or pre-cut tree leaves (or real leaves if possible) and have them hold the ‘leaves’ above their heads and drop them down to the ground around them. Ask students to explain how this is relevant to the plants that are growing. Students should recognize in the fall leaves begin to fall from the trees. Explain to students that strawberries are planted in the fall.
  • Spring: Provide students with red, green, and white construction paper to create flowers and strawberry plants. Explain to students that in the spring, strawberry plants have white flowers; each of these white flowers will grow and ripen into a delicious, red strawberry.
  • Summer: Provide students with a beach bag with summer clothes (i.e. sunglasses, hat, shorts), summer toys, and a large, bright colored sunshine (made from yellow construction paper) all inside.
  1. Bring students back together to a central location in the classroom and talk with students about what they have learned about each season. Allow them to share their learning from the learning stations with peers sitting next to them.
  2. Tell students, “Now that we have learned about the four seasons, let’s talk about how the seasons relate to strawberry plants.”
  3. Show students A Year in the Life of a Strawberry Poster (see Essential Files).
  4. Tell students, “Strawberries are planted in October.” Ask students, “What season does the month of October fall in? What do we see in our environment?”
  5. Draw students’ attention back to the book utilized to understand seasons. Continue by walking students through each season of the year with a strawberry plant and show them pictures of strawberries in each season.
  6. Ask students, “So, when do we pick strawberries?” In North Carolina, May is the best time to pick strawberries because the berries are just ripening, and the warmth from the sun helps to sweeten the berries just right.
  7. Have students create a daily weather chart, and each day for the next couple weeks, monitor the weather and record observations on the Daily Weather Chart (see Essential Files).
  8. Extension: Show students a video clip from a strawberry farm and invite a strawberry farmer to come into the classroom to talk about growing strawberries and strawberry picking season.Extension Lesson Plan: A Year at a Farm K-2 Lesson Plan (see Essential Links).

Activity 7: Students will understand how their food gets from the farm to their plate using creative learning stations.

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

Materials:

  • From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to the Strawberry Patch by Heather Barnes and Karen Baltimore Printed by North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Publication supported by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agriculture Marketing Service North Carolina (Book)
  • Toy cash register
  • Grocery bag
  • 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
  • White copy paper
  • Crayons
  • Unifex cubes
  • Foam shapes (circle, triangle, square, etc.)
  • Ruler
  • Magnetic alphabet letters
  • Magnetic white board
  • Sight word cards
  • Wooden shapes
  • Technology devices (computer/iPad/SMART board)
  • Headphones
    Note – prior to lesson set up a mock Farmer’s Market with a cash register, money, and if available a small tricycle or a steering wheel toy. You will also need things such as plants, soil, artificial plants, spade, gloves, etc.

Essential Questions:

  • What non-living things help strawberries grow?
  • Who do we need to grow and market strawberries?
  • Are farmers important to our community?
  1. Social Studies Stations
  • Rotation 1: (K.G.2.2, K.E.1.2) Allow students to dress up in roles or different careers that relate to growing and selling strawberries. One student will be the cashier; one will be the shopper, a truck driver, the grocery store clerk, and the farmer. Reenact for students: The farmer picks the strawberries and puts them in crates. The truck driver hauls the strawberries to the grocery store. The grocery store clerk checks the strawberries and puts them on the shelves. The consumer brings the strawberries up to the cashier to purchase the strawberries, takes the strawberries home to put them in a special dish.
  1. Rotation 2: (K.G.1.1) Use a map to show students where strawberries are grown in North Carolina. Refer to page 23 in the book, From Farm to School – Crops of North Carolina: A Visit to the Strawberry Patch by Heather Barnes and Karen Baltimore, showing students the following image: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.
  2. Math Stations (K.CC.3, K.CC.4, K.CC.5, K.CC.6, K.MD.1)
  • Rotation 1: Counting strawberries using counting cubes and number charts. Students will count, write and identify numbers 0-20.
  • Rotation 2: 2-dimensional shapes and strawberries. Provide students with 2-dimensional shape manipulatives (foam shapes, wooden shapes) and have them practice drawing different shapes. Then have students compare the different shapes of strawberries.
  • Rotation 3: Measurement and strawberry plants. Provide students with unifex cubes, a ruler or other measurement tool. Using printed pictures of strawberries, have students measure the size of the strawberries.
  • Rotation 4: Divide a piece of paper into two parts draw a line down the middle place groups of strawberries on each side of the line. Have students count strawberries and count which side is greater and less.
  1. Reading Stations (RF.K.1.c, RF.K.1.d., RF.K.3, L.K.2, L.K.2.a, L.K.2.b)
  • Rotation 1: Provide students with alphabet letter magnets. Have students practice saying and identifying all letters of the alphabet, even using the magnetic letters to spell the word strawberry and other words relating to the strawberry plant or strawberry patch.
  • Rotation 2: Provide kindergarten sight words and include words such as: I, am, like, above, below, in, front, of, below, and other words used throughout the lesson activities to practice understanding and application with all students. Assign emergent readers and encourage students to utilize previously taught strategies to build understanding. Encourage students to look for sight words in their reading. Extension: Students will write sentences to explain understanding of vocabulary used within activities and learning.
  1. Technology Stations (SL.K.4, SL.K.5, SL.K.6, W.K.2, L.K.2.d, L.K.5.a)
  • Rotation 1: Students will watch a short video clip of work on a strawberry farm. As they are watching the video have students pick out the things they notice: i.e. the strawberry beds, the black plastic, the parts of the strawberry plant, a tractor, other equipment, farmer, workers, truck drivers, etc.Video: Homegrown: Spring is for North Carolina Strawberries https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q64c7J0Q8jc
  • Rotation 2: Students will watch a short video clip of consumers purchasing strawberries from a Farmer’s Market. Students will identify consumers purchasing goods from a fruit stand or local grocery store.Video: Visiting the State Farmers Market https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7uQzis0WTw

Concept Elaboration and Evaluation

  • What do strawberries look like?

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.

  • What non-living things help strawberries grow?

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.

  • Are farmers important to our community?

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.

  • What are the parts of a strawberry plant?

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).

  • Who do we need to grow and market strawberries?

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

  • When is the peak season for strawberry harvest in North Carolina?

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

Suggested Companion Resources

  • NC Strawberry Ag Mag

https://www.ncfb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/FINAL-ag-mag-strawberry-WEB.pdf

  • A Year at a Farm

https://www.ncfb.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/LessonPlanAYearAtAFarm.pdf

National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes

Agriculture and the Environment

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

Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy

  • Explain how farmers/ranchers work with the 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 & Lifestyle

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

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

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

Culture, Society, Economy & Geography

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

NC Standard Course of Study

English/Language Arts

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.

 

Math

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.

Science

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.

Social Studies

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.

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

Lessons supported by:

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