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There is nothing like the Merry, Berry, Month of May! I went strawberry picking at Boone Hall Plantation yesterday and the air was oh so sweet with the aroma of ripe strawberries! Follow along as I describe the real life math problems I encountered while strawberry picking.

 

While I was walking up the rows of strawberry plants, I began to notice some patterns:

 

  1. The strawberry plants were planted in pairs.
  2. The irrigation system was set up for 6 rows so that following every sixth row there was a wider walking path.
  3. I counted 10 sets of 6 rows in their main field.

Real Life Math - Strawberry Picking Edition

Now I don’t know about you, but I immediately started running calculations in my head. This is a perfect multiplication problem! They were even nice enough to make it look like a set model for us with their perfectly manicured fields!

Problem 1: How many rows are in the main field?

Next I began wondering how many strawberry plants were in the main field. I decided to use non-standard measurement to estimate. My rough estimates are below:

  1. For each length of my foot there was one set of plants.
  2. It took 300 steps to walk from the top to the bottom of one row.

Now I had enought information to estimate the total number of strawberry plants in the main field!

Problem 2: Estimate the number of strawberry plants in one row.

Problem 3: Estimate the number of strawberry plants in the main field.

I know those that farm the fields must have their own way of estimating the number of plants they will need for strawberry season. Just think about the work that goes into these fields!

Once I picked my strawberries, it was time to weigh and pay.

Real Life Math - Strawberry Picking Edition

 

 

  1. The rate for strawberries was $1.89 per pound.
  2. The strawberries I collected cost $5.16.

 

 

 

 

Problem 4: How much did the strawberries I purchased weigh?

Weigh Strawberries

 

Now the best part is going to be eating them, but I had a little work to do first. I had to rinse the berries, de-stem them, and cut them in halves. I was amazed by how much the scraps weighed!  It made me wonder how much of the original weight of the strawberries was conserved afterwards.  So of course I weighed them!

 

 

Problem 5: If the rinsed and sliced strawberries weighed 1lb 15.5oz, how much did the scraps weigh?

Problem 6: How much did I pay for the parts of the strawberries I threw away?

Problem 7: What would my new unit rate become if I wanted to know how much I paid per pound of the editable portion of my strawberries?

Ok now I can make a fresh strawberry pie!  Yummy! I couldn’t even get a picture of the pie before the family dug in!

The last few problems arose from the signs I saw as I entered the fields.

Strawberry Signs

Problem 8: If I picked the ripe strawberries on May 3, what was the date they flowered?

Problem 9: If there are approximately 3 ripe strawberries on each plant in the main field, about how many seeds are in the main field?

Since I can’t finish this post with only 9 problems (10 is a much better number), I leave you with the last question.

Problem 10: How many smiling faces did I encounter when I sat down to eat dessert with my husband?

Well, I hope you have enjoyed all of the math I pulled out of the strawberry fields today!  I know I did!

If you are looking for other real life math adventures you may want to read the following posts:

Real Life Math – Discount Drinks Edition

Real Life Math – Grocery Shopping Edition

Click to Tweet:Wondering how math is used in the real world? Check out the math behind strawberry harvesting: http://ctt.ec/z6lQs+

This post is a part of monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by
4mulaFunFourth Grade StudioTeaching to Inspire in 5th, AND MissMathDork.

Math is Real Life Link-up

Angela Culley

Angela Culley

Owner & Tutor at Math Ninja, LLC
As the founder of Math Ninja, Angela provides online and in person math tutoring for all ages including those studying for the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, PPST, and other math specific subject assessments. Prior to launching her business, Angela coached K-12 educators on effective teaching strategies, curriculum writing, and assessment development.As a classroom teacher, she taught math to students ranging from grade 5 - 12. She has also taught both undergraduate and graduate math courses as an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia and Mountain State University.
Angela Culley
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