Outdoor Hour Challenge
Crop Plants #5
Inside Preparation Work
We have had strawberries in our garden for a very long time. My middle son has let his garden box fill up with strawberry plants and we all are reaping the benefits of this easy to grow fruit. I am looking forward to focusing this week on the strawberry and gleaning some new insight into this delicious crop plant.
1. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 608-611.
“If a comparison of the wild and cultivated strawberries is practicable, it makes this lesson more interesting.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 609
2. The lesson suggests that each child have a strawberry plant with roots and runners attached to observe in person. This may not be possible but perhaps you can find a plant that you can observe with its leaves and a green or ripe strawberry. If all else fails, have some fresh strawberries from the grocery store available for your follow-up time.
3. For this challenge, spend 10-15 minutes outdoors. This would be a great time to check up on any crop plants that you have been growing in the garden. If you don’t have any crop plants growing, spend your time observing in your own backyard looking for a subject that interests your children. Perhaps you could bring along your magnifying glass and inspect leaves or flowers or insects. Enjoy this time together.
You can also download my daughter’s Summer Nature Walk Worksheet to complete during your outdoor time if you wish.
4. Allow time for discussion and a nature journal entry after your outdoor time. Follow up any interest in any subjects you observed during your outdoor time either in the Handbook of Nature Study or in a field guide. You could also check past Outdoor Hour Challenge topics to see if we have studied your subject in the past.
5. Have some fresh strawberries on hand for observation and then eating.
Here are some ideas for careful observation:
- Notice the strawberry’s color, shape, size, seeds, hull, and stem.
- Smell the strawberry.
- Take the stem in your right hand and the berry in your left hand and pull. What happens?
- Look at the seeds on the outside of the berry. What are their size and shape? (use a magnifying glass)
- Cut the berry vertically and notice the colored layers. (some red, pink, white, or green)
- Are there seeds on the inside of the berry?
- Cut a cross section and describe the inside of the berry.
- Eat the strawberry and describe its taste.
6. Your journal entry could include:
- Drawing of the whole berry, showing the shape, stem, and the pattern of seeds.
- Drawing of a vertical section, showing the shape, stem, and the seeds on the outside. (cut the berry in half lengthwise)
- Drawing of the horizontal section, showing the seeds, and the colored ring. (cut the berry in half crosswise)
- Drawing of a strawberry leaf if possible showing the distinct shape.
New for this series of challenges are custom made notebook pages for each crop plant we will study. I have designed simple to use pages that will complement each challenge and will be an easy way to start a nature journal. Each of the eight notebook pages is in full color, but they are just as great in black and white.