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St John XXIII Catholic Primary School Inspiring Faith in our Future

STEAM committee: Strawberry planting

STEAM Committee Investigation 4 - Plant Science: Strawberries

The STEAM Committee carried out their 4th investigation into Strawberries. Where do they originate from? Why do they taste the way they do? How did they start growing in England? These are some of the questions we had during our Plant Science: Strawberries workshop with a Plantologist STEM Ambassador. We discovered that strawberries made their way to Europe from an expedition run by a spy! On orders from King Louis XIV, a military engineer by the name of Amedée François Frézier sailed through the pirate-infested waters of the Atlantic and around Cape Horn to map the area and collect intelligence. Frézier posed as a merchant and spent his days reading. On one of the scouting missions in Chile, he happened upon a strawberry plant and the strawberries were huge and juicy! He wanted to bring the plant back to France so he did. The plant survived the terrible on board conditions and made its way back to France. However, the French couldn’t duplicate the plant as it would grow smaller and produce tiny bitter fruit. Another expedition to the east coast of America, allowed for the military engineer to collect another strawberry plant and cross breed. This was successful and that is how strawberries made their way to Europe.

The STEAM Committee were very interested in the science of how strawberries grow and Miss Hawron explained that they are runner plants and are asexually reproducing so they create clones of themselves and they don’t pollinate.

We asked many questions and learned a lot about the career of a Plantologist who specialises in plant diseases and even saw pictures of our Ambassador on the job. What an educational and fun experience. Not to mention we got to taste and describe strawberries!

Then we planted our own strawberry seeds so that, we can care for them, watch them grow and in a few months we can eat them!