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The History of Corn

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									Mesoamerica’s Gift to the Native Americans

The History of Corn from 1400 BC-Late 1800s

Kansas History Project July 2006

Lesson designed th grade for 8 Integrated Spanish Mrs. Amelia Adams Contributor

Lesson Goal
 Students will study the history of corn and its impact on the Native Americans in Kansas through various medias.

Kansas State Standards
 History Benchmark # 3 – The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, events, eras, and development in the history of Kansas, the United States, and the world.  Spanish Benchmark #2, indicator #4 –The student explores social and geographic factors that affect cultural practices.

Materials Needed
          Maps of Central America and Kansas Video of Children of Guatemala “Mayan Creation Story” “Pawnee Creation Story” Venn Diagram Various types of corn to share in class “The Story of the Corn Husk Doll” How to Make a Corn Husk Doll Corn Tortillas Corn Grinder

More Materials
“How Corn Came to the Earth” The History of Corn Native American Recipes of Corn Carl Barnes (Corn Grower from Turpin) Student’s parent to demonstrate making corn tortillas  Items made from corn today, poster board class project  Overhead, pictures, books, various Indians tales about corn  Information about the corn dance     

Lesson Vocabulary
 Mesoamerican-Central American indigenous groups.  Indigenous-native to a particular area  Aztecs-an indigenous group from Mexico  Maya-an indigenous group from Central America  Maize-another word for corn  Ritual-a religious ceremony  Artifacts-articles made or modified by people.  Mounds-round domes of dirt where Indian women grew corn.  Tortilla-a flat round bread made from corn or flour.

Activity One
 First create a KWL chart with the class to display in the classroom throughout the unit. Complete the last day of unit.  Use maps to show important locations.  Give students a brief handout about the the history of corn. Have students read it silently, then do a read, think, share activity with a partner. Then discuss in class. Make sure all students understand the vocabulary.

Activity 2
Read with a partner the Mayan Creation Story. Discuss as a class. Write down in their journals 5 ideas from the story. Watch the Mayan Story of Creation on Guatemalan video. Compare stories.

Types of Corn Raised by the Native Americans
Corn Husking and Scraping Tools

Activity 3
Read the story, Pawnee Creation Story and use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast it to the Mayan Creation story. Use the overhead to do this activity with the class. Also discuss what the word corn means in both cultures.

Activity 4
Discuss the various ways the Aztec, Maya, and Kansas Indians used corn in their cultures. Show various pictures on overhead of tools, and how corn was used in rituals . Discuss their seed selection and how they stored corn. How did they know when to plant corn?

Special Guest
Carl Barnes from Turpin will share with the class his knowledge about corn and the impact it had on the Indians culture. He will bring various artifacts and example of corn.

Indian Legend
The class will read the legend, “How Corn Came to the Earth”. Compare it to the other legends about corn. Who is MotherCorn?

Activity 7
Discuss with the class the various foods the groups ate from corn. Such as tortillas, tamales, beverages, sweets, breads, and puddings. Show the corn grinder, have a student’s mother demonstrate how to make corn tortillas. Give each group a different corn recipe to take home to make and report to the class about its taste and texture.

Other Uses of Corn
Indians used all the parts of the corn plant. The husks could be braided and woven to make masks, moccasins, sleeping mats, baskets or cornhusk dolls. Corncobs could be used for fuel, for game darts or for ceremonial use.

Activity 8
First read, “The Story of the Cornhusk Doll”. Teach the students how to make cornhusk dolls. Give students the handout sheet explaining the process.

Corn Dance

Corn Dance Activity
Have students research the importance of Corn Dance on the internet and its meaning in the Native American culture. Students look at the handout and try to perform the dance and sing the song.

Student Project
Students use various colors of corn and create a corn mosaic using either an Aztec, Maya, or Indian pattern on a fourth sheet of poster board. Complete the KWL chart with the class.

Teacher will continually assess students throughout the project visually, orally, and with daily exit slips. Students will write a 4-paragraph essay answering the following questions. Where did corn come from? How did the people groups use corn in their culture? Which story did you enjoy most and why? How did corn impact the Indian culture?

GUEST Carl Barnes, Turpin, OK BOOKS Kalman, Bobbie- Prairie Recipes Napier, Rita- Kansas and the West: New Perspectives (2003) WEBSITES

VIDEOS Children of the World, Guatemala, West Middle School

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