Strawberry Girl: Lesson 4

Life on the Frontier

  • SS.A.2.2.3 - Students understand various aspects of family life, structures, and roles in different cultures and in many eras
  • SS.A.6.2.2 - Students understand the influence of geography on the history of Florida
  • 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
  • SS.B.1.22 - Students will explain how regions are constructed according to physical criteria and human criteria


  • Students will define a sink-hole as a bowl-shaped hole in the surface of the land formed when water dissolves part of the limestone layer and explain how it is formed
  • Students will compare how the perception of sink-holes have changed over the course of time
  • Students will define a hurricane as a huge storm with heavy rains and high winds with speeds of 74 miles an hour or more and explain how it is formed
  • Students will identify Jacob Summerlin and his role in creating economic changes in Florida
  • Students will create a poem about a sinkhole or a hurricane


Time: Four fifty minute classes


Day 1

Setting: computer lab or classroom with Internet accessible computers

  1. Read together the Chapters 6-7 of Strawberry Girl.
  2. Discuss the Journal questions and complete.
  3. Read the Orlando Sentinel article, “Summerlin photo helps inspire historians,” to class.
    1. Point out the number of people living in Orlando at the time of this historical novel. (80)
    2. How would life be different if we had only 80 people living in Orlando?
    3. What did Summerlin do that we can still see today? (Saved land for Lake Eola, major Florida highways named after Summerlin, and made sure that the county seat was located in Orlando)
    4. Point out that “Orlando, the City Beautiful,” was due to Jacob Summerlin.
  4. Read pp. 64-67 of Tellable Cracker Tales, “How Orlando Got Its Name and Kept Its Courthouse.” This will take about 18 minutes. Be sure to explain that Seminole County was formed in 1913 and Sanford was chosen as the county seat.
  5. Go to website: Central Florida Memory and click on
    1. Performing a search.
      1. Type in postcards. Be sure to browse all four pages of postcards to find pictures of points of interest in Orlando like:
        1. A.C.L. Railway Station, Orlando, Fla.. "The City Beautiful."
        2. Concord & Ivanhoe Lakes, Orlando, Fla.
        3. Fountain at Eola Park, Orlando Florida, "The City Beautiful."
        4. Lake Eola, Orlando, Fla.
        5. Lake Lucerne Circle postcard.
        6. Orange grove and pineries, Orlando, Fla.

Day 2

Setting: computer lab or classroom with Internet accessible computers 1.

  1. Today’s lesson is going to be on sinkholes.


    Sinkholes are a common feature of Florida’s landscape. They are one of many kinds of karst landforms, which include caves, disappearing streams, springs, and underground drainage systems. All of which occur in Florida. (Karst refers to the characteristic terrain produced by erosion associated with chemical weathering and the dissolution of limestone or dolomite, the two most common carbonate rocks found in Florida.) Dissolution of carbonate rocks begins when they are exposed to acidic water. Most rainwater is slightly acidic and usually becomes more acidic as it moves through decaying plant debris. There are 400 new sinkholes reported in Florida each year. Place The Florida Aquifer transparency on the overhead. Limestone in Florida is porous, allowing the acidic water to percolate through the strata, dissolving some limestone and carrying it away in solution. Over eons of time, this persistent erosion process has created underground voids and drainage systems in much of the carbonate rocks throughout the state. Too much groundwater can cause problems. As water flows from the soil to the limestone layer, it wears away parts of the rock. Water gathering in the empty areas can become underground streams and pools. If an empty area gets large enough, the ground can cave in. This leaves a bowl-shaped hole called a sinkhole.

    Geologists estimate that Florida’s oldest sinkhole, called the Devil’s Millhopper, located in Gainesville, was formed nearly 20,000 years ago. It runs 120 feet deep and has sides covered by vegetation. Today, visitors may descend a 236 step staircase to the bottom of the hole. Go to website:

    Click on all the graphics. Look at the vegetation.

Day 3

  1. Today’s lesson is going to be on hurricanes.


    Hurricanes are formed over tropical oceans where there are warm waters, humid air and converging winds. It takes a lot of energy for a hurricane to be created, not to mention just the right conditions. Hurricanes start out as a group of storms that begin to rotate when they encounter converging winds. These storms create violent seas, stirring up even more water into the air in the form of vapor. The water vapor rises very quickly, rotating with the storms, and helping to increase the wind speed. The storms begin to organize, holding themselves together and forming a central rotation point of low pressure. When this occurs, and sustained wind speeds reach 74 mph, the storms become a hurricane.

  2. Click on website: A Fierce Force of Nature: Hurricanes
    Click on map and watch a hurricane form.
  3. Divide students into groups of 4 or 5, instruct them to prepare a weather report on a hurricane of the past using the Internet. Create posters to use in their presentations.

Day 4

Setting: classroom

  1. Explain to the students that today each group is going to create a poem about a hurricane or a sinkhole. After poems are completed, share with each other.
  2. Share Kerry Gibbon’s poem “Sinkhole.” Kerry was a fifth grade student at Sweetwater Episcopal Academy in 2003-2004.

A trench in the earth’s soul.

Damp, mysterious, dark
A very distinct landmark.

A very dangerous place to be
Could be part of an underground sea.

Falling, crumbling, sighing
The awful sound of crashing

Settling, dusty
Very musty.

A sinkhole


  1. Completed journal entries for chapters 6 & 7
  2. Completed group hurricane weather report
  3. Completed poem on hurricane or sinkhole