Plants, Bugs, and Soils
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Strawberries in Schools

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Strawberries in Schools is a collaborative project between NC Cooperative Extension, NC Ag in the Classroom (through NC Farm Bureau), the NC Strawberry Association and teachers throughout the state.  Funding provided by the National Ag in the Classroom grant enabled these partners to come together to develop growing resources and lessons that utilize strawberries as model to understand science, literacy and math concepts in a contextual way.


kids watering strawberries

Schoolyard strawberry gardens provide rich spaces for students and teachers to explore concepts relevant to their curricula in a hands-on, experiential way. A strawberry garden, modeled on the annual hill production system used by farmers in the southeastern United States, fits neatly into the traditional-year calendar for elementary schools, with students beginning school in late August and finishing the year in June. This coincides with the southeastern strawberry production system in which strawberry plants are set into the ground between late September through early October, and the fruit is harvested in late April–early May. This growing schedule enables students to observe the life cycle of the strawberry plant throughout the school year.

A strawberry garden furnishes numerous benefits for students. The garden becomes a living laboratory, providing an integrated context to explore all subject areas. Science concepts such as plant growth and development can be easily studied and managed. Students can observe and discuss the relationships between plants and animals and their surrounding environments. Math, social studies, literacy, and health and wellness objectives can also be taught through the garden, with activities from weighing fruit to learning about the importance of strawberries to North Carolina. Life skills, including critical thinking, responsibility, communication, teamwork, citizenship, and a respect for nature, develop through nurturing a strawberry garden.

A strawberry garden affords an opportunity for youth who are disconnected from how fruits and vegetables are grown to understand the way food is produced. The simple act of cultivating a strawberry plant from a starter plant to a mature fruit-bearing plant imbues students with a proud sense of accomplishment. Tasting fruit fresh from the garden, which students have grown themselves, can encourage a lifetime preference for eating healthy food and a love of gardening.

NC Cooperative Extension Logo  NC Strawberry Association Logo  NC Ag in the Classroom Logo

Contact

Liz Driscoll, 4-H Horticulture Specialist, NC State
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Dr. Gina Fernandez, Small Fruit Specialist, NCSU
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Debby Wechsler, NC Strawberry Association
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Michele Reedy, Director, NC Ag in the Classroom
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Megan Sedaghat, Teacher, Wake Public Schools
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JoJo Nichols, Teacher, Hertford Public Schools
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Curriculum Pages


Teach from the Garden: Strawberries. This is the manual that details how to build and maintain a schoolyard strawberry bed through the year.View PDF
Kindergarten - To inform students that strawberries are a type of fruit with many seeds.View PDF
First Grade - To learn that strawberries are a fruit that is grown in North Carolina and to learn the different parts of a strawberry.View PDF
Second Grade - To teach students about runners on a strawberry plant. To teach students that weather is an important factor in growing and pView PDF
Third Grade - To teach students the names and functions of major plant parts (roots, leaves, stems, flowers).View PDF
Fourth Grade - The purpose of this lesson is to inform students about growing, planting and harvesting strawberries in NC by using research View PDF
Fifth Grade - To help students understand the importance of strawberry production in North Carolina and how it relates to the US economy.View PDF
Multi-Age - Students learn how to propagate strawberries in the classroom.View PDF
Multi-Age - Students explore potential spaces for their strawberry gardenView PDF
Multi-Age - Students set aside plants to "harvest" and observe to monitor plant growth over timeView PDF

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