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Public Library Series

Unit 6: We Grow Corn! - The World Needs Farmers!

Grade Level: Public Library

Unit 6 ends the “We Grow Corn!” library series. The reader will learn why we need farmers, and that agriculture is a big industry full of many job opportunities. This unit allows the readers to celebrate farmers and agriculture.

Unit Instructions

Time

1 hour*

The amount of time will vary depending on the age group that is participating.

*Does not account for time to do the extension activity/TEACH-FLEX lesson.

Materials

  • “We Grow Corn! Raising corn on a Kansas family Farm” by Sharon Thielen, Ph.D.
    • Focus on pages 22-23 (10 Minutes)
  • Technology to watch:
    • Field Trip! Careers in Agriculture – YouTube provided by into the Outdoors (24:34)
  • Activity: Build a farm with Biodegradable packing peanuts (20-30 Minutes)
    • Bag of biodegradable packing peanuts
    • Wet paper towel or sponge
    • Piece of paper
    • Optional: crayons or markers
  • Snack: Popcorn Balls
  • Extension Activity/TEACH-FLEX Lesson (see lesson for material list)
  • Technology for Online Challenge (10 Minutes)

Book

If the reader has already read the entire “We Grow Corn!” book, this unit will focus on pages 22-23. The world needs farmers because they are the reason we have food, fuel, clothes and other products we use every day. Every year the number of people one farmer feeds increases, but being a farmer is not the only profession in agriculture. There are thousands of jobs in agriculture, many that people don’t realize are agriculture related.

Remote learners can watch the author read the book online at wegrowcorn.com. Pages 22-23 are read between 18:25-20:24.

Video

Into the Outdoors has an episode about Careers in Agriculture. This episode is over 24 minutes long but a great one for the readers to watch. The kids in the video are tasked to learn about careers in agriculture and will take the viewers on a field trip to explore four careers. This video could be played during snack time or even while they do their activity.

Field Trip! Careers in Agriculture – YouTube provided by Into the Outdoors (24:34)

Activity

The world needs farmers. Like farmers people who work in agriculture are trying to make products that are safe and healthy. Scientist create products using corn to replace products made of plastic. An example is packing peanuts. Plastic packing peanuts do not break down when put in a land fill. Today you get to play with biodegradable peanuts. When they are added to water they will disappear, a much safer product for our environment. And what is great, they are made from corn! To celebrate all that farmers do build a farm made from biodegradable packing peanuts.

Instructions

  1. Open the bag of peanuts
  2. Set out a piece of paper for the farm’s foundation.
  3. Prepare wet paper towel or sponge.
  4. Slightly wet part of the peanut.
  5. Place the peanut on the paper or another peanut and they will stick together.
  6. Get creative and build your farm!*note if the peanut gets too wet it will dissolve.

Building Ideas

Young readers (preschool age) may find it easier to build their farm flat on the piece of paper. Older readers should have success creating a three-dimensional farm. We would love to see what your readers created by sharing on social media @kansascornstem.

Packing Peanuts versus Biodegradable Peanuts

A fun additional experiment is to take a plastic packing peanut and watch how it will float on water. Then take a biodegradable packing peanut see how it will disappear in water. Here is a video showing the difference.

Eco-Friendly Packing Peanuts – Cool Science Experiment – YouTube

Online Challenge

A breakout box challenge is a fun way to test the reader on what they learned. This can be done as a group or individually if they have their own technology device. Answer key on page 61 of the hard copy instruction guide.

Extension Activity/TEACH-FLEX Lesson

To keep the conversation going about corn here is an additional activity that can be used in the library or encourage your students to complete at home. All materials use common products found at home.

About Kansas Corn STEM

Investing in Kansas teachers, students and public libraries 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.

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This lesson is the work product of the Kansas Corn Commission. Our lessons are written in collaboration with Kansas teachers for use in the classroom. Teachers may copy and share this curriculum. Use of this product for commercial or promotional use is prohibited without express permission of Kansas Corn.

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