If you’re like me, this is one of your favorite times of the year. ????
I get so excited to watch football, take a trip to the pumpkin patch, enjoy some chili with cinnamon rolls (if you’re from the Midwest, you know), and see all the leaves change color. I’m a sucker for all those autumn traditions.
But nothing tops going to the corn maze. One of my favorite childhood memories was our annual corn maze race. We’d show up to the maze, grab a map, pair up, and then race to the finish line. Whoever finished first, well, you’d get all the bragging rights!
What I never understood as a kid was how they made these masterpieces in the corn. From geometric designs and flags to presidents’ faces and movie characters, these corn mazes can be anything you dream of! Let’s explore the makings of these mazes!
How High Tech Changed Corn Mazes
Before we had high tech, sketching an image and creating a corn maze would take months. Right after planting the corn, planning the design would begin. Corn is planted in both directions to create a grid. Farmers would grab lots of graph paper, where each line would represent one row of corn, and sketch out a blueprint of their designed cornfield, marking out pathways, dead ends, and, of course, the finish line. This process would take lots of math, a few days, and several erasers. After mapping it out, the farmers would take to the field, cutting or pulling out the corn by hand to form their drawing.
Test out your own maze-making abilities with this fun activity: DIY Mazes With Graph Paper.
Thanks to technology, corn mazes today can be created in about a day! And, even better, farmers can create even more detailed designs. With GPS tracking and guided tractors, creating the labyrinth is so much easier. GPS systems are used to create the path that is cut from the corn. It starts with digitally creating a graph plot of an original design or even an uploaded template. Then, the GPS tracking system will map out the coordinates and plot out the maze and where the tractor needs to go for cutting. Now, that’s pretty a-maze-ing!
Want to take it even further? Some corn mazes use drones to send a video or image so they can zero in on which stalks need cutting to create the most accurate picture. Check out the following video to see how a 300-year-old farm is now using modern technology to create their corn maze.
Learn more about STEM in farming.
Learning in the Labyrinth
Yes, going to the corn maze can be an exciting and awesome fall tradition. But, it can also provide educational benefits as well! Corn mazes are all about the journey, and you can learn a lot throughout the maze.
- Use problem-solving skills
One of the greatest benefits you can take from exploring a corn maze is the enhancement of problem-solving. To get through the maze, you must use your problem-solving skills. If we take this route, will we end up here? We hit a dead end; what do we do now?
- Get active
Going to the maze also allows you to get active. Whether you run through (like me) or take it easy to make sure you are turning at the right place, you’re getting exercise in!
- Enhance memory
Your memory is also working as you’re adventuring through the corn maze. You have to remember where you are in order to know where to go next. Or even remember where you last turned in case you have to go back to that area.
Make a Maze
If you don’t have a couple acres to grow your own corn, take the maze home or to the classroom. Get hands-on with these fun STEM activities you can do anywhere:
- Mazes Kit
- Bee-Bot® and Blue-Bot® Changeable Maze
- Classroom in the Corn
- Marvelous Maze STEM Challenge
- Make A Paper Plate Maze STEM Challenge
“Inside The Surprisingly High-Tech World Of Corn Mazes”
“With GPS And Graph Paper, Farmers Find A-maze-ing Ways To Bring In Cash”