An "A-Maize-ing Plant" - Corn
A  WebQuest for Grades 3-5, WebQuest Agricultural Series by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University



The history of corn dates back over 7000 years. Corn has been a very important crop throughout our history. Ancient tribes grew corn (maize). It was their only grain. Their lives depended on this crop. When the Pilgrims came to North America the Indians taught them how to plant and grow corn. This crop kept them from starving their first winter in the New World. They learned to use corn in many other ways. Corn is now grown all over the world. Corn continues to be a VERY important crop to you in our world today.  Do you know how you use corn in your daily life?


Christopher Columbus has just arrived in the United States in a time capsule. Christopher wants to know if the maize plant that he brought to Spain from the New World is still being grown.  Our job is to educate him about our a’maize’ing plant, corn.  At the conclusion of this project, you (as well as Christopher) will be amazed at the diverse uses of corn and its impact on your daily life.  You will learn how important this crop is to United States Agriculture and to YOU. Your oral presentation at the conclusion of this unit will be shared with the class and Christopher Columbus.



You will be assigned to a team of three students. There are four projects listed below.
Every team will complete Task 1.  In your group decide which member will be responsible for Task 2, Task 3 and Task 4.


Task 1:  Corn is planted, grown and then harvested by farmers. It is then sent to processing plants. Many different products have corn by-products in them. You first must read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. You need to read and research the websites provided to gain knowledge of the many ways corn is used today. Your task is to make a presentation that tells about three important uses of corn in our world. You must decide what format you want to use to present this information to the class. You might make a book, a tri-fold, a computer presentation, charts, etc. You will start each project with “ The important thing about corn is_____”.   Your project must be illustrated with pictures. You should include items that are non-food products.


Task 2:  The United States is very dependent on oil purchased from foreign countries. However, scientists developed a fuel called ethanol . What is ethanol? You must develop a presentation that explains ethanol and it is beneficial to the United States and our farmers. Your presentation must include pictures.

Task 3: You will identify the top ten countries to which the United States exports corn. Print out this map and correctly locate and label the oceans, all the continents and the top ten corn export countries. What country buys the most corn from the US? Number the countries from 1 to 10 indicating the amount that is purchased from the US.  At the conclusion of this task you will give an oral presentation.

Task 4: Develop a timeline from when corn was first documented to the present time. This timeline must include 10 important dates in the history of corn. Your timeline must include pictures, dates and the importance of those dates. You will give a presentation explaining your timeline.



You did it!  You have learned about the many uses of corn and how it is beneficial to our world. You now see that corn remains firmly rooted in our lives.



Click here to view the rubric that will be used for your grade on this WebQuest.



This WebQuest was created by teachers participating in Missouri's Agriculture in the Classroom program at Missouri State University through a USDA grant.  The template on this site was adapted from a template from The WebQuest Page and the original was designed by Dr. Lyndon Irwin.  Assistance for this project was provided by Mrs. Barbara Irwin, M.S. and Mrs. Diane Olson, M.S.

Teachers are encouraged to adapt this lesson for classroom use only.  No part of this publication may be transmitted, stored, recorded or published in any form without written permission from Missouri Farm Bureau.


This page was developed by Cheryl McGinness, reviewed by Lyndon and the late Barbara Irwin and is maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau.
Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau.