Corn Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

You have probably eaten corn and know what it tastes like, but it is also used as an ingredient in many things, including some that aren't food. Come learn about corn, what it is used in and some other fun facts about it.

What is Corn?

It's time for a picnic in the park! You can't wait and are looking forward to all the delicious treats, but one of those foods is your favorite. You can't wait to smear butter all over those warm, sweet golden kernels and take a big bite, even if they do get stuck in your teeth. There is nothing like eating corn on the cob!

Corn is a tall, North American grass plant that is grown for its corn kernels and is the crop most planted in the United States. The beginning of corn as we know it today started around 10,000 years ago, making this a very old crop. Even though it is originally from North America, it is now grown on every continent except Antarctica.

Different Kinds of Corn
Different Kinds of Corn

Today, different kinds of corn are grown for different uses. Some, like sweet corn, end up on your dinner table, while other kinds that aren't sweet get zapped in your microwave so you have hot popcorn when you watch a movie. Different kinds are also grown to feed animals, put in toothpaste, or be turned into fuel for your car.

There are a lot of things that you snack on every day that have corn in them, too, and you probably didn't even know it. If you ate peanut butter, drank a soda or ate cereal, you probably chowed down on corn in one form or another!

How Does Corn Grow?

After a kernel, or seed, is planted, its leaves sprout up and look like grass. The corn continues to grow into a fat, leathery stalk with a lot of leaves, and can grow as high as fifteen feet. That's about the same height as a smaller giraffe.

Once the corn plant is almost fully grown, the male flower appears toward the top, showing off its tassels full of pollen.

Male Corn Tassels
Male Corn Tassels

A little further down, one or two little ears of corn develop from the female flower with silks sticking out of the top. Those silks wait for that pollen to blow in the wind and fall. There is one silk for each kernel of corn, and each ear of corn has about 800 kernels.

Ear of Corn with Silks
Ear of Corn with Silks

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