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The Story of Corn Quick Facts for Teachers


The following activities, suggestions and extensions may prove helpful as students use the Quick Facts page to extend their background information on corn.


  1. ADD A FACT: Cut and paste the text of the Quick Facts page to a word processing document. As students learn more about the history of corn, corn production, and the place of corn in modern farming, students may add facts to each section of the list.

  2. CORN MATH: Because many of the "quick facts" include statistics related to corn, introduce the Quick Facts page by creating a math matching/estimation activity. For example, the following facts were copied from the Quick Facts page with the corresponding statistics listed below. Students should work in pairs, record their "estimate" and go to the Quick Facts page to compare their answer with the fact.
  3. Facts:
    An ear of corn averages ___ kernels in ___ rows.

    A pound of corn consists of approximately_____ kernels.

    ____ bushels of corn produces approximately __________ kernels.

    Each year, a single U.S. farmer provides food and fiber for _____ people - 97 in the U.S. and 32 overseas.

    In the U.S., corn production measures more than ____ times that of any other crop.

    Over _____ of Iowa's corn goes to foreign markets. The rest is used in other parts of the United States.


  4. CORN ALL AROUND US: Scientists are finding new uses for corn every day. Have students create a classroom "corn icon" such as a picture of corn found at this Web site or an original drawing. Produce multiple copies of the "corn icon" and make available to students by placing them in a "corn all around us" container. As students discover objects in the classroom that could have been produced with corn products, have them tape a "corn icon" to the object. To name just a few, students might find the following common objects or products in their classroom:

    • Adhesives (glues, pastes, mucilages, gums, etc.)
    • Aluminum
    • Batteries, dry cell
    • Coatings on wood, paper & metal
    • Crayon and chalk
    • Gypsum wallboard
    • Ink for stamping prices in stores
    • Latex paint
    • Paper board, (corrugating, laminating, cardboard)
    • Paper plates & Cups
    • Rugs, carpets
    • Textiles
    • Wallpaper

  5. CORN ESTIMATION: Most grain elevators will be willing to provide classroom teachers with seed samples. Contact a local grain elevator and request a small container of shelled corn. Place the corn in a sealed clear plastic container. Have students estimate the number of kernels in the container by writing their estimation on a slip of paper and placing in a designated estimation box. Reviewing the Corn Math section of the Quick Facts page may refine their estimations. When all students have made an estimation, have each student count a hand full of corn from the container. Use calculators to add the total number of corn kernels found in the container.

  6. CORN GEOGRAPHY: Have students create a classroom display identifying the major corn growing areas of the world. After reviewing Quick Facts page, have students use one of the following online map sources to create their corn growing area maps:


    Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

    U.S.A. Atlas: Maps and Geography of the United States

    World Atlas: Maps and Geography of the World



  For Teachers:
Teacher's Overview Quick Facts History Detective
Scavenger Hunt Newsroom Mystery Photo
Amazing Mazes Webliography bulletNational Standards
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