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Last fall, our family attended a harvest festival where my kids had the opportunity to go into a corn field and pick some Indian corn right off the stalk. We brought several ears of Indian corn home with us and used them for a few different projects.
During our seed unit, we had previously learned that corn kernels are seeds. So we decided to do an easy fall science activity that involved sprouting Indian corn to see what would grow!
But I’ll confess: the first time we tried to sprout the Indian corn, our ear of corn went moldy before it did much sprouting. On our second attempt, we changed how much water we used and got much better results. In fact, the way that worked for us is actually easier than our first plan. So this truly is an easy fall science activity!
Note: For more corn activities, see my Corn Unit Study page.
We laid the ear of corn into a container and added enough water to cover just the bottom 1/3 or so of the ear. (Note: adding more water may lead to too much mold growth and not enough sprouting.)
Then we waited. And of course, checked the water level every day or two and added more water as needed to keep the corn about 1/3 submerged.
About a week later, we had some very noticeable sprouts beginning to appear.
It was interesting to see that many of the sprouting kernels were actually beginning to come loose from the cob.
After another 10 days had passed, our cob was well sprouted with green shoots coming up from both sides of the cob where it had been exposed to water.
We still experienced some molding, but not as bad as our first attempt when we had used much more water.
Many of the kernels completely separated from the cob, and others became loose enough to pluck off. Here is a picture showing a kernel (aka, seed) with a sprout shooting out of it.
More corn resources
More corn posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Books about corn
- Montessori activities to learn about the parts of corn
- How to make corn husk dolls
- Math activities with corn kernels
- Corn fine motor activities
- Indian corn popcorn in the microwave
- Simple corn crafts for kids