The following craft is a fun way to incorporate one of our largest food crops into your farm or fall theme. Students will use fine motor skills through painting, gluing and cutting. This craft also incorporates the use of real kernels, so children actually get to experience the corn seed! Use it alone or as one of the follow-up activities to the mini-lesson provided for a more in-depth learning experience.
Recommended Grade Level: Preschool-Third
1. Students will verbally identify three parts of an ear of corn–the ear, the kernels, and the husk.
Corn is Maize by Aliki
From Kernel to Corn by Robin Nelson
The Popcorn Book by Tomie dePaola
The Life and Times of Corn by Charles Micucci
Begin the lesson with the children gathered together. Show them an ear of corn wrapped in its husk. Ask the students if they know what it is called. Many should answer that it is “corn” or “corn on the cob”. Next, ask students if they like corn. Explain how a lot of corn is grown in America–some of which we eat, but much of it is fed to animals raised for their meat (e.g. cattle). Then, ask students to identify some of the ways that they eat corn at home (this can include foods that contain corn such as cornbread, tortillas, etc.). Finally, ask students to look at the ear of corn and ask if they know which parts are edible. Optional–choose one of the suggested read-alouds to expand the idea of what corn is, its parts, how it is grown, and its uses.
Tell students that you are going to dissect your ear of corn. As you do this, use the Corn Anatomy diagram to use as a labeled visual. Ask students to name the parts as you talk about them. Which part do we eat? Tell students that it is now their turn to dissect an ear of corn.
Allow students to mingle between three different centers. Each center will give the students practice with locating and naming the parts of an ear of corn.
Center 1–Giant Ear of Corn Craft
Center 2–Label Its Parts
Center 3–Sensory Spelling
Bring students back together. Ask them which was their favorite activity. Hold up an ear of corn and ask students to label its parts.
Students will be assessed according to their ability to…
- Verbally identify three parts of an ear of corn–the ear, the kernels, and the husk.
Materials for “Sensory Spelling”:
3 long, shallow bins, 3 work trays or 3 tops from copier paper boxes
2-4 bags of dried corn kernels (unpopped popcorn)
2-3 bags of dried corn husks (in Hispanic Foods section of the grocery store)
6-12 small dried ears of corn with husks on (or opt for uncooked ears from your grocer)
letters (plastic, foam or die-cut)
one card per bin labeled with the following words–ear, kernels, husk
Bin #1–Fill with corn kernels and enough letters for 2-3 children to spell out the word “kernels”. Place a card with the word “kernels” outside of the bin for reference. Students will find letters to spell the word that identifies the material.
Bin #2–Fill with dried (or fresh) corn husks and enough letters for 2-3 children to spell out the word “husk”. Place a card with the word “husk” outside of the bin for reference. Students will find letters to spell the word that identifies the material.
Bin #3–Fill with ears of corn and enough letters for 2-3 children to spell out the word “ear”, Place a card with the word “ear” outside of the bin for reference. Students will find letters to spell the word that identifies the material.
Materials for “Label its Parts”:
1 copy of the Corn Anatomy Diagram
1 copy (per student) of the Label the Corn Parts Worksheet
Students will follow the directions provided on the Label the Parts worksheet.
Materials for Corn Craft:
glue (Tacky or rubber cement work best)
- Have students paint giant ear of corn yellow and the husk green.
- Glue husk and ear together (if the paint is still wet, the two should stick together without glue).
- Using a Q-tip, students dab glue on the ear of corn and place kernels until the desired amount is added.
- Allow it to dry.