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Lesson Overview

What are the seasonal chores of the cranberry grower?

Lesson Plan:








In this lesson, students begin to learn about the seasonal work of the cranberry bog. They learn that farming cranberries is a year-long process that requires diligence and attention to natural cycles. The lesson is set in a fictitious context: A grower’s loose leaf yearly planning file has been tossed about in the wind, and students will help pull together and organize the yearly to-do items into seasonal folders. To be successful, students must examine, analyze, and put into seasonal categories some of the primary tasks of a grower. Next, students attend to the technology that helps modern growers complete their work, matching tools to the tasks. By taking on this role of grower’s helper, students begin to see the complexity of a cranberry bog and the grower’s work. This is a first step toward developing an appreciation of, and a connection to, cranberry farming (specifically) and agriculture (in general).  In addition, students glimpse the intersection of the natural world and the human endeavor of farming. This gives them an opportunity to connect their curriculum (“book knowledge”) to real-world applications and implications.

  1. Timing/Structure: As written, this lesson may take longer than a typical, 45-minute classroom session. It will likely take up to 60 minutes. Consider breaking between Parts 1 and 2 if necessary. An alternative approach to this lesson is to plan on using structured classroom time only for the introductions to, and final discussions of, Parts 1 and 2. Student pairs can work independently at their computer station over a day or two to complete their sorting tasks, ordering the calendar (Part 1) and matching tools to tasks (Part 2).

  2. This lesson is based on the very popular field trip experience developed at Bog Hollow Farm in Kingston, MA, by grower and former fifth grade teacher, Lydia Mathias. In her field experience, she provides real objects relating to the specific tasks. If you are able to gather even a few real objects, this lesson will be made all the more interesting and meaningful to students. If you can arrange for a grower to visit your classroom based on the themes and tasks of this lesson, or—better yet—to run a field trip to a bog—your students may benefit greatly. Many thanks to Lydia for her support and inspiration for this lesson.