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Dried-Corn Door Decor

Celebrate the fall harvest with decorative ears of Indian corn. Display these handsome ears year after year.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Students research information about the importance of corn, an indigenous crop in North America. Find out about its uses by both Native Americans and later immigrants to the continent. What role does corn play today in cultures around the world? These authentic-looking ears celebrate the history and harvest of corn.
    2. On a clean, dry paper plate, flatten a large handful of Crayola Air-Dry Clay to about one-half inch (2.25 cm) thick.
    3. With a craft stick or plastic knife cut thin ovals about 6" long in the shape of ears of corn. Square off the tops for stems. With a straw, cut out a hole in the top of each ear to hold the husk. Press into the ears with a clip clothespin to make rows of corn kernels. Air-dry the corn for at least 2 days.
    4. Using Crayola Washable Tempera, paint the corn in earth tones. Rinse the brush between colors. To make husks, dip a plain paper towel into the rinse water from your painting. Spread out the corn and husks on a paper plate to air-dry.
    5. To add texture to the corn, add one or more coats of Crayola Texture It! Mixing Medium. For a pearl-like finish, cover with Crayola Pearl It! Mixing Medium. Air-dry the finish.
    6. Roll up the dry paper towel. Pull it through the hole in the top of the corn. String a few ears together with raffia to hang. These make beautiful gifts!
  • Standards

    LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of aspects of a topic.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SCI: Construct original explanations of phenomena using knowledge of accepted scientific theory and linking it to models and evidence.

    SS: Examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the use of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Corn Is Maize: The Gift of the Indians by Aliki; Corn by Gail Gibbons; The Life and Times of Corn by Charles Micucci.

    In small groups, students research the growing cycle of corn. A helpful website: Students create a set of diagrams depicting the life cycle of a piece of corn and write an explanatory sentence for each diagram. Students should be prepared to talk with small groups of class members about their findings.

    IN small groups or teams of two, students study Native Americans indigenous to their area. Encourage students to look up names of local tribes and how they incorporated corn into their diets. Prepare an electronic presentation to share with classmates.

    What other crops were native to North America? How has their use spread around the world? Students investigate these questions and prepare to share their new knowledge with classmates.

    Investigate the life of Native Americans and recreate some of the other items they made and used such as pots, pelts, and jewelry. To make a simple pinch pot, students roll clay into balls, press their thumbs in the middle of the clay ball, and with forefingers, press and pull to form a small pot. Air-dry and decorate with traditional Native American styles. These pots were used by the Native Americans to store grains like corn.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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