Students watch a video about a family farm in Iowa to learn about the corn crop and how Iowa is an ideal place to grow it. Then, they create an advertisement for their own corn company.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Iowa | Unit 1: Introduction & Geography." In this unit, students will be introduced to the history and geography of Iowa. Students examine the societal challenge of balancing competing demands on fragile resources.
E.SS.3.13: Identify how people use natural resources, human resources, and physical capital to produce goods and services.
E.SS.5.13: Describe how goods and services are produced and distributed domestically and globally.
- Video: Summer Sweet Corn | America's Heartland
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Various art or writing materials
- Explain to students that Iowa is currently the top corn-producing state, but that most of the corn grown is not for human consumption. Rather, it is field corn—corn produced for animal feed, ethanol fuel, and to be dried, preserved, and used in thousands of other everyday products. However, to satisfy people’s desire to have delicious corn of their own to eat, some farmers also grow sweet corn. Growing sweet corn allows farmers to compete in the corn-growing market by offering a different product that is desired by the community.
- Ask students if they enjoy eating corn in the summer. Then, ask for adjectives to describe corn.
- Indicate that they will be watching a short video about Iowa sweet corn, specifically about how central Iowa farmer Ron Deardorff began growing sweet corn on his family’s farm.
Play the video, Summer Sweet Corn | America's Heartland. [4:30]
- After watching, ask students to share what they learned about the sweet corn picking and distribution process [picked every morning and out for grocery store delivery by 10:00 am (2:21); picked in fields, sorted, counted, and bagged in burlap sacks (3:05); someone takes daily orders (3:50)].
- Then, tell students that they should develop an advertisement for their own Iowa sweet corn company, emphasizing the characteristics that make Iowa sweet corn so desirable and its differences from field corn [sweet corn has a higher sugar content and less starch; field corn is for animal feed and grain processing, but sweet corn is for human consumption]. Teachers may decide to make this an individual or small group assignment. Similarly, teachers may require students to make a print, radio, or television ad or to give them a choice of format.
- If time allows, have some students present their advertisements.