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Center for Ecoliteracy


3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans
  • Projects
  • Experiments
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Worksheets

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, California



Strawberry No-Crush Challenge

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  • This resource includes both a lesson and design project, comparing fresh and thawed frozen California-grown strawberries and challenging students to develop a way to transport fresh strawberries without crushing them.
  • Students engage in reading comprehension, class discussions, critical thinking exercises, and a design challenge to learn about where our produce comes from.
  • Students will familiarize themselves with strawberries grown in Santa Barbara, Orange, Ventura, San Diego, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Fresno, and San Luis Obispo counties.
Teaching Tips


  • Students are introduced to new vocabulary, including terms like an achene, botanist, and perennial.
  • The lesson plan includes discussion questions, an assessment rubric, and a step-by-step guide on preparing and conducting the design challenge and experiment.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This lesson is expected to take two to three 50-minute periods.
  • Students will need materials like serving trays, timers, measuring tape, and strawberries. A complete list of materials can be found in the lesson plan.
  • Terms like runners, perennials, and seeds may need to be defined for students. A glossary can be found at the beginning of the lesson plan.


  • If any students in the class are allergic to strawberries or if they are not accessible, the activity can be completed using blackberries or another berry.
  • This resource can also be used in health classes during lessons about the nutritional value of fruits and where our food comes from and in science classes during lessons about agriculture.
  • Have students consider what happens when food transportation is not well designed.
  • For more resources on agriculture, check out this lesson plan on food production and this lesson on tomatoes.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a lesson that aims to show students how difficult is to deliver fresh produce to stores without damaging it but having them design their own way to transport them. It also contains information on the history of strawberries. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • 3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
      • 3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Literature (K-12)
      • RL.CR.3.1 Ask and answer questions and make relevant connections to demonstrate understanding of a literary text, referring explicitly to textual evidence as the basis for the answers.
      • RL.CR.4.1 Refer to details and examples as textual evidence when explaining what a literary text says explicitly and make relevant connections when drawing inferences from the text.
      • RL.CR.5.1 Quote accurately from a literary text when explaining what the text says explicitly and make relevant connections when drawing inferences from the text.
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