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Professional Development


The Kansas Corn Commission invests in the future by providing workshops, free lessons and materials to teachers. With a focus on inquiry-based learning teaching method and lessons that meet Next Generation Science Standards teachers will learn how easy it can be to teach about agriculture in any classroom.

Corn Breakout Box

This unique professional development workshop involves learning about the corn industry while experiencing how to use Breakout boxes in the classroom. Discover how the use of a breakout box can challenge and teach students in a new way. Modeled after, workshop participants will be using the breakout boxes to learn about the history of corn while also “unlocking” new knowledge about how the Kansas Corn Commission is investing in teachers. Each school who hosts our inquiry ambassadors will receive breakout boxes to use in the classrooms and will be one of the first to receive our corn-based activities using breakout boxes.

"Plant a Seed" with Inquiry

What is inquiry and what does it look like?  How can you use it to motivate learning?  What does it have to do with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)?

At no cost to districts or schools, Teachers Supporting Inquiry (TSI) Ambassadors are offering an “Explore-shop” to actively walk teachers through an inquiry-based lesson incorporating the NGSS. In the “Explore-shop,” teachers engage in focused inquiry and fun learning activities using corn and soybean seeds.  Each teacher will walk away with supplies to get their students engaged tomorrow​! In addition, teachers will learn about future opportunities and resources to continue cultivating their inquiry skills.

Summer Science Institutes

The Kansas Corn Commission and the Kansas Soybean Commission provide inquiry-based training opportunities for teachers to incorporate “systems thinking” methods using corn and soybeans as focus points. Those chosen for the workshops receive stipends, classroom supplies and continuing education credits.

Tier 1: Soybean Summer Science Institute

Funded by the Kansas Soybean Commission teachers are selected to participate in a three-week workshop located in Manhattan. The teachers work with peers to develop a science unit around soybeans that addresses Next Generation Science Standards. More importantly, teachers will learn how to teach “systems thinking” using a soybean seed. For more information visit

Tier 2: Corn Ear to Ear Mentors

Graduates of the Soybean Science Institute can apply for the Ear to Ear Mentors program, a one-week summer course where selected teachers receive advanced training to bring inquiry-based learning to their schools, beyond their own classrooms. Teachers gain knowledge about corn and how they can use the crop as a model for teaching science. They also will learn how to train peer teachers on inquiry instructional methods using corn.

About Kansas Corn STEM

Investing in Kansas teachers and students is a priority for the Kansas Corn Commission. We are committed to providing materials and training to support STEM education while fostering an understanding of how corn farming and agriculture fit into our daily lives. All K-5 lessons come with a free teacher kit that includes the teaching materials needed for each lesson. Professional development workshops are offered to teachers seeking to expand their knowledge and inquiry-based teaching skills.

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