Learning through strawberries
Teachers and farmers across North Carolina have been using locally grown strawberries to focus students’ attention on lessons ranging from math and science to healthy eating and agriculture. Helping them is North Carolina Strawberry Investigations (NCSI), which are lesson plans for grades kindergarten through fifth developed by the North Carolina Strawberry Association (NCSA)
Classrooms plant strawberries in the fall and harvest in the spring, explains NCSI Project Coordinator Debby Wechsler.
For example, this past year second graders at Woodleaf Elementary School in Woodleaf used strawberries to learn about the weather, states of matter and life cycles. Their teacher, Charlena Perrell, discovered that many of her students didn’t understand where food comes from, other than the grocery store.
At Audrey Garrett Elementary in Mebane, students enjoyed watching two raised beds of strawberries grow. “The strawberries are good for problem solving, too,” said AEG resource teacher Jennifer Tripp, a three-year participant. She explained that her students had to figure out the distance to set netted plants apart for optimal growth.
NCSI includes five to seven lesson plans for each grade level, keyed to the North Carolina curriculum objectives for each grade. They can be accessed online after a simple sign-up procedure. Teachers can choose to follow the year-long curriculum or use individual lessons on specific topics.
For more info, visit ncstrawberry.com.