Corn connections between classrooms

B. J. McMahan teaches sixth grade science in Marietta, Ohio, a semi-rural area. McMahan said, “While many of our students have seen or visited a farm, few have any working knowledge about aspects of farming. Truthfully, neither did I!”  She saw the Ohio Corn and Wheat-sponsored Feed the World workshop as a great opportunity to expand her horizons, and in turn, those of her students. “I decided to bring along Ginger Brown, a co-teacher, so that we might be able to combine our talents in an integrated curriculum event for our shared students. As anyone knows, two sets of eyes and ears are always better than one! To say our training session was wonderful is an understatement. We learned so much!”

McMahan used the Explore an Ear of Corn lesson from the FTW workshop. Her neighbor up the road donated several cornstalk, ears attached, as well as several loose ears.  She and her students explored the stalks: “We counted nodes and examined tassels.  We weighed single kernels of corn, and then an ear of corn on a digital scale. We talked about the dent in the kernel and what made that occur. We looked at the root system on several plants. We labeled parts on our worksheet, and also on the Smartboard copy, as I had scanned it for larger presentation. They were excited!”

After the exploratory work was done in McMahan’s science classroom, the information sheets were sent to Brown in Language Arts. She talked with the students about their discoveries and guided them in a reflection writing assignment. Here are a few of the comments from the students:

“I learned that not all corn has the same amount of kernels.”
“Now I see how corn loses its moisture.”
“I enjoyed learning the parts of a cornstalk.”
“I didn’t know that animals liked corn.”
“I didn’t know corn had such shallow roots.”

McMahan concluded, “I send a heartfelt “Thank you” to the Ohio Corn & Wheat organization, as well as the wonderful instructors and organizers for this training. It allowed us to bring timely and meaningful information to our students.”