Strawberry Girl: Lesson 3

Trains, Sails, and Trails

  • SS.A.1.2.2 - Students use a variety of methods and sources to understand history
  • SS.A.6.2.1 - Students will understand the reasons that immigrants came to Florida and the contributions of immigrants to the state’s history
  • SS.A.6.2.2 - Students will understand the influence of geography on the history of Florida
  • SS.A.6.3.3 - Students will know the significant individuals, events, and social, political and economic characteristics of different time periods in Florida’s history
  • SS.A.5.2.1 - Students will understand that after the Civil War, massive immigration, big business, and mechanized farming transformed American life
  • SS.B.1.2.1 - Students will use maps, globes, graphs, and other geographic tools including map keys and symbols to gather and interpret data and to draw conclusions about physical patterns


  • Students will be able to describe Florida’s economy changes in the late 1800's
  • Students will define transportation as the moving of people and goods from place to place
  • Students will contrast steamboats and railroads
  • Students will explain the effects of railroads on the Florida’s growth in the late 1800's
  • Students will identify Henry Flagler, Henry Plant, and William D. Chipley and their role in creating economic changes in Florida
  • Students will read and compare the map of the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad and the Florida East Coast Railway System and the Southern Railroad
  • Students will create a map with a title, map scale, map key, main cities, natural features, principal rivers, major railroad system, and compass rose in order to create questions for peers about their own railroad system.
  • Students will create a menu for the dining car of one of the main railway systems


  • Central Florida Memory website:
  • Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski Chapters 4-5
  • Strawberry Girl Journal
  • Lap top computers
  • Resource Materials: dictionary, encyclopedia, and books on Florida
  • Tellable Cracker Tales by Annette J. Bruce
  • Florida map
  • Florida map – blank
  • Florida History by Hal Bamford

Time: Four 50 minute classes


Day 1 & 2

Setting: classroom

  1. Read together chapters 4-5 of Strawberry Girl. Instruct students to listen and take notes on facts about transportation, roads, clothing, and life on a Saturday in a town.
  2. Discuss Journal entries #4 & #5.
  3. Read pages 21-22 of Tellable Cracker Tales, “Sech As It Is.” This will take about 8 minutes. Explain to the students before reading that “sowins” is a dish made of water added to cracked corn and allowed to sour in the sun. “Gopher” is a land tortoise. Questions for discussion:
    1. What do you think Shoestring and Cracker Jack have in common? How are they alike?
    2. What do you think is the moral of this tale? (The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.)

Day 3

Setting: computer lab or classroom with Internet accessible computers

  1. Today’s lesson will be about transportation in Florida at the turn of the 21st century. Locate Tampa and Jacksonville on a map.
  2. Ask students how they think people traveled from one place to another in Florida during the early 1900s.
  3. People traveled mostly by stagecoach, foot, mule, horse drawn carts, or on horseback. Steamships transported people and goods from place to place. Steamships moved about 5 miles per hour.
    1. How far could you travel in two hours? (10 miles)
    2. How long would it take to travel 50 miles? (10 hours)
    3. If you traveled for one full day and evening about how far could you go? (120 miles)

      The ships had to travel around the peninsula and the trip was often dangerous. Ships became wrecked on coral reefs or were damaged by a sudden storm. Soon Floridians began to look for new ways to travel across the state.

      Summary: After the Civil War, Florida began a period of growth that far exceeded anything that the state had ever experienced. Railroad development helped the newcomers reach the cheap unsettled land of Florida. New businesses boomed as crops were able to be transported to other areas of the United States. William D. Chipley built a railway that crossed the Panhandle of Florida from Pensacola east to Tallahassee. Farm goods, people, and lumber moved quickly to ports and across the panhandle. Two of the most powerful men in Florida’s history were Henry Bradley Plant and Henry Morrison Flagler. They bought up most of the independent railways and created two large rail lines along with hotels. Henry Plant created the Seaboard Coast Line and Henry Flagler created the Florida East Coast Railway. Both of these men were responsible for promoting Florida as a winter tourist attraction.

  4. Ask students the following questions contrasting steamboats and railroads:
    1. Which mode of transportation moved goods and people up and down the Florida rivers? (steamboats)
    2. Which mode of transportation moved goods and people over land? (railroads)
    3. Was it cheaper to travel by steamboat or railroad? (steamboat)
    4. Which mode of transportation provided a quicker way to get goods from coast to coast in Florida? (railroads)
  5. Instruct students to go to Central Florida Memory website and trace the two main rail lines in Florida by clicking on Performing a Search. Type in “Florida East Coast Railway Map” (be sure to click on all the pages) and “Southern Railway System” (remember that Plant bought this system). How are these rail systems alike and different?
    1. Which line do you think was most helpful to Florida’s tourism? Why?
    2. Which line do you think was most helpful to Florida’s industry? Why?
    3. Are there other areas of Florida where Plant or Flagler should have created rail lines? Where? Why?
  6. Distribute blank Florida maps to each community (group of 4 to 5 students) and instruct students to create their own Railway System using the following criteria:
    1. a title
    2. a map scale
    3. a map key
    4. main Florida cities
    5. natural features
    6. principle rivers
    7. compass rose
    8. created railway system
    9. 5 questions related to the map for peers to answer

Day 4

Setting: classroom

  1. Instruct students to create a menu with graphics that would have been suitable to serve on the Southern Railway System or the Florida East Coast Railway. Students must be able to explain all choices on the menu.
  2. Please consider:
    1. Is there refrigeration?
    2. Who are the passengers?
    3. How long will the trip take?
    4. What month is the trip?
    5. What crops are being grown and shipped in Florida?


  1. Completed journal entries
  2. Completed railway map
  3. Completed menu