An Introduction to NC Strawberry Investigations
Lesson Plans and Resources for Grades K-5
Strawberries are a great focus for educational investigation. Not only are the fruits themselves a favorite of most children, the strawberry production cycle used by North Carolina growers — plant in the fall and harvest in the spring — fits well with the traditional school year.
NC Strawberry Investigations (NCSI) is a set of lesson plans for grades K-5, with 5-7 lessons for each grade, each of them organized around the current curriculum standards for science, social studies, math, and language arts. These same Common Core standards are applicable in other states as well.
The NCSI lessons may be done as a full-year program, or teachers may dip into the set and pick and choose among the lessons, or simply use them as inspiration. It is not necessary to visit a strawberry farm or have a school strawberry garden, though either of these activities enhances the Strawberry Investigations.
The lessons and resources are also appropriate for preschools, home school groups, after-school programs, non-school educational settings, or on-farm programs.
Accessing the NCSI website
The NCSI section of www.ncstrawberry.com requires a registration process. This allows the Strawberry Association to track interest in the program, provide updates to users, and seek feedback and evaluation of the program. After you initially register, you can access it anytime with your email and password. Click here to access the registration page.
The lessons are grouped in sections by grade. For an overview, you may want to look first at the “Suggested Timetable of Lessons by Grade and Month” in the “General Information” section. All lessons are in the form of pdf files that can easily be printed out.
The “Additional Resources” section offers diagrams mentioned in the lessons, a slideshow of the strawberry production year, and more, including information about resources available through the NC Strawberry Association. These include
- Teaching Prints: A set of ten 18″ x 24″ color images of strawberry production, plus an 18″ x 24″ black and white labeled strawberry plant diagram
- Strawberry Time coloring and activity booklets
- Stickers and recipe brochures
Also check out our “We Grow Strawberries” grower blog. Our 2013-2014 blogger is Emily Odom of Odom Farming Co. in Goldsboro, NC. This is a way for students to interact directly with an NC farmer. We ask that each classroom use a single email to interact with the blog.
The photos section includes more than 70 photos that can be downloaded or projected to supplement lessons and discussions. They are grouped in the following categories:
- Strawberry Plant Stages
- Stores, Markets, and Restaurants
- Soil and Erosion
- The Seasons
- Kinds of Farms