Aztec Maize

Aztec Maize lesson plan

Corn (maize) was a staple in the Aztec culture. Show the Aztec’s sophisticated corn-growing techniques in a realistic diorama.

  • 1.

    Research the role of corn in ancient Aztec culture. In what area of the Americas did the Aztecs live? When? Why was agriculture, and especially corn, so important to them? How was it grown?

  • 2.

    Stand a small box, such as a shoebox, on its side. If you wish, cut out the top to make an open scene. To make terraces for your cornfield, fold cereal box cardboard back and forth like a staircase. Use Crayola® Scissors to cut it to fit inside the box. Glue the field in place with Crayola School Glue.

  • 3.

    With Crayola Gel Markers and Twistable Crayons, color the background inside the box. You might make a mountain with sun and clouds. For a 3-D effect, such as trees, draw items on recycled file folders, cut them out, and glue inside the box.

  • 4.

    Shape corn stalks and golden ears with Model Magic. Glue corn into the field.

  • 5.

    Shape Aztec farmers with Model Magic. Glue them in the scene. Air-dry the diorama before moving it to display.


  • Students learn about the Aztec culture, including dates and locations.
  • Students gather information about the important role that agriculture, irrigation, and corn played in Aztec life.
  • Children create an Aztec agricultural diorama.


  • Agriculture was a part of the Aztec culture. Farming and finding ways to produce the best crops were essential to maintain the people’s livelihood. Research the meaning of irrigation. Why was it important to the Aztecs. Why is irrigation still used today?
  • What foods did the Aztecs make with corn? Find recipes to make and taste.
  • What other crops are native to North and Central America? What other foods did the Aztecs grow? Why did they plant bean and squash seeds with corn?