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Lesson Plan #:AELP-INT001
Author: Christy Bingham, Cleveland, Utah
Endorsed by: These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops. Date: May 1994

Grade Level(s): Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3


  • Interdisciplinary
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Arts
  • Science

Overview: For one day all activities will center around popcorn as a teaching tool.

Purpose: The use of inexpensive, healthful popcorn will create an atmosphere of fun for eager learners in the classroom.

Objectives: The students will be able to use the tool popcorn with activities in Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, P.E., Music, Art, Science and Eating .

Resources: Materials needed have been listed with the activities.

Popcorn Bibliography

  • Chandler, Edna W. The Popcorn Patch .
  • DePaola, Tomie. The Popcorn Book .
  • Sandburg, Carl. The Carl Sandburg Treasury: Prose and Poetry for Young People, The Huckabuck Family and How they Raised Popcorn in Nebraska and Quit and Came Back.
  • Thayer, Jane. The Popcorn Dragon .
  • Wilkins, Mary. Princess Rosetta and the Popcorn Man .

Activities and Procedures: Each student will make a Popcorn Shape Book. Each activity will be recorded on a page in that book.

Social Studies

The teacher will give a short history of popcorn that might include such items as, Archaeologist have found popcorn in New Mexico that they believe to be 5,000 years old. Indians brought popcorn to the first Thanksgiving. The USA grows nearly all the world’s popcorn in Nebraska and Indiana.

Language Arts

The students or teacher can read about Popcorn Legends. The Indians say that a little demon lived inside each kernel. The demon would get so mad when his house was heated up that he exploded. Students can make up other stories about why popcorn pops. The students stories can be shared orally with the class or made into a Big Book for the class library. The teacher can read the story The Popcorn Dragon by Jane Thayer. Before reading this story hide a bag of popcorn for each child in the classroom. When students enter the classroom have them use their noses to track down the popcorn. After finding the popcorn , make a circle and read The Popcorn Dragon. Afterwards allow time for questions and reenactment. Other stories can be read during the day. They are listed in Resources.


Preparation of popcorn is made into a math lesson. The students measure the oil and popcorn to put into the popper. They weigh the popcorn before it is put into the popper and then weigh it again after is has popped. This lead to volume, expansion, weight, etc. Counting the kernels that popped and comparing that with the number that didn’t leads to ratios. Leftover popcorn can be used to reinforce counting concepts. Class story problems written to show concepts that were used during activities with the popcorn.


The class has A Sense-ational Popcorn Party. Start the science party with hidden popcorn popper popping. Discuss the sounds they hear, the smells they smell. Have several canisters to rattle that include popcorn popped and unpopped. Have a second set of canisters including the smell of plain, buttered popcorn and other seasoning such as garlic, onion, etc. The students will identify and discuss how they are alike and different. (Throw in a set of duplicate smells.) Next have a set of socks (clean and missing a mate) will items to touch. The student can wear a blindfold or just feel and not look in the sock. Make sure two of the items are popcorn popped and unpopped. Discuss how we identify objects by feel. Last, bring out the popper so the students can see the popcorn and taste it. Talk about texture, color, and flavor. Have other items for the class to taste so they can compare salty popcorn to items that are sweet, sour, bitter, crispy, bland, etc.


The students can play Popcorn Toss. Label plastic buckets with numbers such as 1, 5, and 10. Place the buckets in a vertical line in progression from small numbers to large. The students stand on a designated line and toss popcorn into the containers. The students add up their scores according to how much popcorn they got in each bucket. This could also be played in teams.


These simple songs could be sung during the Popcorn Day. Popcorn in the Pot (tune: I’m a Little Teapot)
I’m a little popcorn in a pot
Heat me up and watch me pop.
When I get all puffed up, then I’m done.
Popping corn is lots of fun.

Pop, Pop, Pop My Corn (tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Pop, pop, pop, my corn,
Pop it big and white.
Popping, popping, popping, popping
‘Til it is just right.


Glue popcorn on tree branches and choose either a winter or snow scene to accompany the popcorn tree. Use food coloring to make the popcorn different colors. Provide a various art supplies such as colored construction paper, glue, scissors, crayons, markers, etc. Allow student time to create his/her popcorn picture.

Tying It All Together: At the end of the day each student will have his/her Popcorn Book to review the activities of the day. The students take their books home and share them with their families. Then the students bring a sample of popcorn from and have another Popcorn Party .