Incorporating corn in K-12 education
--W.F. Tracy, Madison, WI

For the second year I taught a one week summer course on the biology, history, and sociology of corn (MNL 68:116). Eighteen elementary and middle school teachers took the course. The design of the course is for me to provide basic information on corn and its place in our society and the teachers develop activities and a "web." The web is a concept used by elementary educators in which a subject such as corn is put at the center of the web and all curricular areas, science, history, music, language, etc. are related to the topic. Corn is obviously ideal for this concept.

This year we will be planting corn gardens at local elementary schools, to teach the life cycle and very basic genetic principles. The plan is for fourth graders to plant the corn in the spring and make predictions. When they return in the fall they will harvest the corn and test their hypothesis. For this to be successful we will need teachers that are very dedicated, and around most of the summer.

I am preparing a manual for the course with scientific, social, and economic information. The manual will also discuss classroom corn culture and activities and experiments. If any of you have activities or other things that would be useful for such a manual I would be happy to hear from you. If they are included in the manual I would certainly credit the source. Along with the manual I hope to develop very simple "kits" consisting of segregating ears and seeds that will segregate for seedling traits. 

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