Theme Fun: Corn - A Unit Study
Here's a great theme for Fall or the Thanksgiving holiday!
History and Science Lesson Plan Ideas:
Corn is a plant native to North and South America. Native Americans grew many varieties of corn, including sweet corn, popcorn and corn for grinding into meal thousands of years before European explorers first arrived. In the 17th century, corn was introduced to European farmers. Most of the corn grown in the United States since the early 19th century has been used to feed animals.
Though many people consider corn a vegetable, it's actually a type of grass. Watch this video on the history of corn hybridization to learn more.
Watch and learn how corn grows.
Growing corn can be both a history lesson and a science project for your students. Check out this awesome lesson plan for growing corn!
Here is a great video showing how the corn combine works and how corn is harvested.
Did you know that the 70% of the carbon found in our bodies is corn-based? Watch this video to find out about the corn we eat every day and the processes it has to go through to be edible.
For High School level students - View this amazing extended PBS clip of the documentary "King Corn" about current events in the genetic manipulation of corn and more. (The full movie may be available on Netflix or at your local library - it is 1 hour and 40 minutes.) Research and debate this controversial topic. Find recent news articles about family farms which are threatened with extinction.
Suggested Reading for Younger Children:
The Corn Grows Ripe
Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn: The Story of the Thanksgiving Symbols
Corn Is Maize: The Gift of the Indians by Aliki
Raccoons and Ripe Corn by Jim Arnosky
Corn Belt Harvest by Raymond Bial
Home Ec - Cooking with Corn:
Indian Maize Pancakes
We get many good things from corn: corn on the cob, popcorn, sweetener, starch, even ethanol to power engines. Native American and pioneer children also got fun from corn. They made dolls from corn husks. You can too!
Make a Corn Husk Doll
Color an Ear of Corn
Natural Indian Corn Coloring Page
Pass the Corn-on-the-Cob Game
Cornhole (or Corn Toss)
More About Cornhole and How to Make Your Own Game
Tips on Growing Your Own Popcorn