Resources for Teachers

Corn Maze Geography

Ten Lessons for Teaching Geography Using Corn Mazes

Corn mazes are paths that are cut or plowed in a field of corn (maize). Like tracing a maze on paper with a pencil, in a corn maze the human being becomes the "tracer". Because (1) corn mazes are maps, (2) mazes and maps have fascinated people for centuries, and (3) maps are essential tools in the study of geography, corn mazes provide a unique and fun way to learn about scale, relative and absolute location, land use, and other geographic themes. There are websites that list the locations of mazes, but not all of the lessons require you to visit a corn maze.

 

These lessons are based on the following National Geography Content Standards and are suitable for elementary through secondary level, with some lessons suitable up to university level.

1) How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information. These corn maze lessons use maps and aerial photographs at several scales.

2) How to use mental maps (a person's internalized picture of a part of Earth's surface) to organize information about people places, and environments. Students compare their mental maps of the corn maze to a map that was previously made of the corn maze and a map that the students create.

3) How to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth's surface.

4) The physical and human characteristics of places. Students are asked to think about the distribution of corn and corn mazes versus population centers, topography, and land use.

7) The physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface. Students are asked to think about why corn and other crops are grown where they are, and the influence that climate and land use have on cultivation.

10) The characteristics, distribution and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics. Students consider the influence of culture on the cultivation of corn.

11) The patterns and networks of economic interdependence Students examine the products made from corn and how these products are transported.

14) How human actions modify the physical environment.

15) How physical systems affect human systems. Students consider how humans have modified the environment in corn cultivation, and examine topography, land use, and the influence of the land on cultivation.

16) The changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources Students examine the products made from corn and how these products are transported.

18) How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future. Students use geography to understand how to interpret maps and present-day land use.

Products in pdf format require Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  1. Mazes, Corn Mazes, Shapes, and Navigation
  2. Wayfinding and Directions
  3. Wayfinding Comparison: Day versus Night
  4. Maps and GPS (Global Positioning Systems)
  5. GPS Navigation
  6. Land Cover and Corn Maze Locations
  7. Interpreting Topographic Maps and Aerial Photographs
  8. Exploring Corn Through Mathematics
  9. Investigating Corn
  10. Investigating Soils