Popcorn Activities, Grades 6-8
Turn a Popular Snack into a Tasty Teaching Tool with Lessons, Games, Quizzes and Other Resources
Corn, or maize, is the only cereal grain indigenous to the Americas. It was first domesticated by Mesoamericans three to four thousand years ago. No one knows who first popped corn, but popcorn poppers have been found in Peru that pre-date Inca culture. Today, the sound of popping corn is as familiar as Fourth of July fireworks.
October is National Popcorn Month. The following lessons, games, quizzes, and other resources will help turn a snack into a teaching tool.
Students in grades K-12 perform five simple experiments to demonstrate what makes popcorn pop.
The Science of Popcorn
Students in grades 10-12 determine the percent of water by weight for 20 kernels of different brands and the internal pressure needed for each of 20 kernels to pop.
Students in grades 3-8 use corn kernels to create a "Top Corn-Producing States" map or graph.
Students in grades 3-12 research and create a timeline of the history of popcorn.
Students in grades 4-8 experience scarcity, relate the concept of scarcity to situations in school and their community, and learn that people make choices because of scarcity.
Students in grade 6 use popcorn to understand percent, fraction and decimal conversions.
Additional Lesson Plans
- Five Lessons for Teaching about Popcorn (K-12)
- 20 More Lessons for Teaching about Popcorn (K-12)
- Interdisciplinary Approach to Investigating Popcorn (Grades 5-8)
Games & Quizzes (K-8)
- Popcorn Race, PBS Kids
An outdoor game for 6 or more players.
- Pencils Out, It's a Pop(corn) Quiz!
- Popcorn Trivia Quiz, The Nibble
- Take the MNN (pop)Corn Quiz!
- Hey Pop! Popcorn Quiz
- Origin, Adaptation, and Types of Corn ( PDF, 75 KB, 6 pgs.) (grades 6-12)
- Tracking the Ancestry of Corn Back 9,000 Years (grades 6-12)
- Exploring Corn (
PDF, 2.8 MB, 42 pgs.) (grades 6-12)
History, lessons, timeline, and more.
- Corn: Background (grades 6-12)
A pie chart showing the 2011-2012 production of major feed grains: corn, sorghum, barley, and oats.
- We Are What We Eat - Michael Pollan, Center for Ecoliteracy (grades 6-12)
Examines the prevalence of corn and corn products in our diet.
- Welcome to MaizeSequence.org (grades 6-12)
The maize genome browser.
- Gershon Kingsley – Popcorn (2:49)
The Original Popcorn Video (1969)
- Kernel Exploding in Slow Motion (00:13)
- Popping Popcorn in Super Slow Motion- The Slow Mo Guys
- Popcorn Song
Information about, and 400 versions of, the Popcorn Song.
- 79 Versions of the Popcorn Song
last updated: September 20, 2016