Strawberry Mini Unit
We did a Strawberry Mini Unit as a part of our Summer Unit this year. It was so cute and fun! We had hoped to pick strawberries but I didn’t realize this is more ideal for May in our area. We missed that this year BUT we did get to pick some blueberries. We grew a couple of our own strawberries (literally only a couple!) and learned about growing our own. We went foraging for wild strawberries in our backyard and learned to identify the differences between mock wild strawberries (which we have) and actual wild strawberries (which apparently are delicious!). We also did a lot of fun strawberry themed work on the shelves. It came from Green Urban Creative’s Summer Collection. Here’s a little look at what we did.
Wild Strawberry Foraging
This was so fun! The girl’s packed their backpacks with items they thought they would need to observe wild strawberries in nature and to collect a specimen to examine. Each packed a water, a snack, color pencils, paper, and magnifying glasses. I grabbed our wild strawberry anatomy + labels (which we read through together prior to heading out) and we went outdoors to examine wild strawberries. The ones in our backyard turned out to be mock wild strawberries. Both are safe to eat but the later is flavorless while the real thing? It’s apparently delicious! We will have to find some another time to try.
Wild Strawberry Anatomy
For the initial presentation, I read the labels as we explored the anatomy of a wild strawberry displayed on the wall. Then my oldest matched the labels in her tray to the correct part of the plant. Since she is pre-reading/early reading, she is matching vs. reading. She enjoyed this and completed it quickly. As I mentioned above, we took this outside with us when we went foraging and observed the parts of a wild plant we picked as well.
Life Cycle of a Strawberry
The life cycle of a strawberry is something that we have observed first hand for ourselves. We have two plants left (that did not get trampled by the deer in last year’s onslaught!) and we have patiently been observing their growth this past spring. We only grew two strawberries this year, but each girl very much enjoyed the sweet deliciousness straight from the vine. There’s something beautiful about growing your own food. I believe they enjoyed picking and eating those two berries more than any of the store bought berries we have brought home (and that’s saying something because these are a favorite in our home!)
We had a lovely watercolor depiction of the life cycle of a wild strawberry displayed on the wall plus three part cards and a sequencing activity. See main picture to see this on the shelves.
Strawberry Tens Board
This was an easy work for my oldest that she actually lost interest in last summer. My toddler, on the other hand, is loving playing with quantity and trying to count like sissy. She does quantities of 1-5 in the bring me game. I just knew she would love getting a lesson from big sister on the ten board and I was right! Further, it is a great way to take My oldest’s understanding to the next level. Observe, Do, Teach. I want to give all my children opportunities to do this throughout their education.
I told my oldest that she was going to present this work to her younger sister since she was in her year 3 of 3-6. She was very excited. I modeled how to present the work, then she invited her sister to the work and presented it. I wish I had video tapped it! You can see this on the shelves in the main picture at the top of this post.
I printed out enough strawberry counters to work on number 1-20. Past 10 this was a large work for Little Miss 5 (my oldest). She had to take a break, come back to it, and really lean in to finish it. My youngest (2) worked on waiting her turn for an item longer than normal and was struggling with this boundary so we had to put this work behind a gate for my oldest to be able to complete it in two sessions.
Little Miss 5 only completed this work 1 time but chose to use these counters with her addition and subtraction problems (also pictured above – scroll over). She wrote her own equations plus had her first experience with solving written subtraction problems.
Strawberry Counting Cards
These counting cards show the written form of the number, the numerical representation, and have a certain number of strawberry plants or berries on them to count which makes them self correcting. I would not have used these before we worked through numbers 1-10 in the Montessori Math Sequence and got through half of what I have dubbed “Unit 1”. This ensures that the child has the tactile experience with numbers first so they understand quantities and then they are introduced to the written numbers very intentionally in a way that introduces abstract constructs of numbers by building on what the child already knows. This means they know what a number is not just what the name of a numerical representation of a number is called. WHICH means they are ready to “do math” earlier. Anyhow… we enjoyed using these beautiful cards to reinforce what a number is, the numerical representation, and give an experience with the written representation.
Strawberry Art Study
As a part of our strawberry art study, we colored our own wild strawberries, studied and recreated works of art that depict strawberries, sketched wild strawberries we observed in nature, and drew our own strawberry plants. We also completed an art journal for our study that included introductory art theory exploration, penmanship practice, and encouraged observation.
Poetry and Read-A-Loud
We read an excerpt from the poem entitled, “Ballad of a Nursery Rhyme” by Robert Graves and used this for tracing work (included in our Summer Unit from Green Urban Creative). In addition to this we read the following books or selections from these books:
This book goes through the life of the strawberry from seed to berry. It does a great job and will be not only a part of this unit the next time around, but an option in our reader rotation when the girls are reading independently.
This is a cute little book about a mouse who picks a red, ripe strawberry and what he does to keep it from the big hungry bear. Both my five year old and two year old enjoyed it and selected it more than one time to read together (tot grabbed it several times).
My five year old was very into this book once I put it out later in the week. I turned to the page on soft and displayed it on the shelf to draw her in. She loved reading through this together and asking questions.
I displayed the section on berries on the shelf to draw my older daughter’s interest. She devoured this book. Actively listening and asking questions. We worked through quite of bit of this book together. This was a fantastic book to read together. I can’t wait to pull it out again.
This was such a fun read-a-loud. We did this book at bedtime and read through it in a couple of weeks. It is free on Kindle Unlimited. It is about cracker culture on farms in Florida in the 1940’s. Lois Lenski does an excellent job bringing in the dialect and daily life from deep Florida farms into an accessible form for children. I am excited to work her other books into our rotation as both read-a-louds and as independent reading options. She has 13 regional books.
Whew. That was a lot to do in one week! I honestly thought it would take us longer but the girl’s really leaned in and loved their work in this unit. I think we will pull it out again in the future for sure!