2019 is an epic milestone for the Corn Project, marking our 40th year. In 2019 we will have 3,200 students in 27 area schools participating. The Garden Club of Greater Lansing has participated in the Corn Project since 1979 when it was developed by Mae Burgess. Van Atta’s Greenshouse and Flower Shop has been a partner with the Club for many year, unfortunately neither of us knows how long
This year’s partnership is in a “time warp” because the basics are very similar to what was started in 1979 but the logistics are very different in 2019.
Nothing much has changed from 1979 with the 3 ounce cups of potting soil and corn seeds that are delivered to participating teachers and students. Club member “school ambassadors” pick up the supplies from Van Atta’s and transport them to area kindergartens and first grade classrooms. The Project promotes lessons in the following:
Faithfulness – everyday care, observation and harvesting
Science – transformation from seed, needs of the plant and transformation of energy
Math – amount of growth of the plant, leaves and roots
English – written log of observations and the story of planting
Two changes to the program are communication and access to the schools. When the project started the teachers were contacted by formal letter and the records were kept on 3 x 5 cards. The transition to computers had made the process easier but sometimes creates barriers to finding the correct person in the chain of command. Email contact sometimes goes astray so a personal contact with a delegated representative leads to much better cooperation.
Another changes is the addition of seeds with a short propagation cycle so the students can experience the fully developed vegetable before school is out for the summer. The first graders are planting vegetables other than corn.
Getting feedback is also sometimes harder because of the demands on teacher’s time. It is a treat when we receive a pack of thank you notes from the students