Aztec Maize


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.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—

  • Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
  • Do not put in an oven, microwave, or kiln.
  • Do not make into vessels/containers that will hold unpackaged food.
  • The use of modeling material to make items that look like food is discouraged for children younger than age 5 to avoid their confusion with real food.
  • Unless sealed with a water-resistant glaze, do not make projects exposed to or immersed in water, such as boats or outdoor bird feeders. They would disintegrate when exposed to moisture.
  • Crayola Dough—contains gluten (wheat flour) as an ingredient.
  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay, Crayola Model Magic and Model Magic Fusion are gluten-free. However, they are produced on the same machinery as Crayola Dough which does contain gluten. Although the machines are cleaned prior to the start of each production run, there is a slight possibility that trace amounts of gluten from Crayola Dough may be present in the other modeling compound products. For information regarding specific ingredients or allergic concerns, please call our Consumer Affairs department at 1-800-272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.


  • 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?

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Gel Markers
  • Model Magic®
  • Twistables®
  • No-Run School Glue
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Construction Paper
household supplies
  • recycled cardboard box
  • recycled file folders
  • recycled cereal boxes



  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • 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.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards