Weed to Wonder is an interactive e-book that can be viewed as a website or a printable PDF. It tells the story of how humans turned a weedy plant, called teosinte, into the plant we know today as corn, or maize.
There are six sections to the app, each of which includes background information, videos, and images. The history of maize research is brought to life through reconstructions of George Shull and Barbara McClintock’s work at Cold Spring Harbor, rare photographs, and links to original publications and artifacts.
This resource would be a good addition to a unit on genetics and inheritance, particularly in relation to the work of Gregor Mendel. It also would be useful if you're already studying the work of Geroge Shull, who followed Mendel's example but applied it to the development of corn hybrids, or Barbara McClintock, who developed a daring hypothesis about the genetic basis of color variations in the leaves and kernels of maize.
Once your students have studied this e-book, they could carry out hands-on activities on Mendelian inheritance to help them understand how traits are passed down through generations. For more advanced students, they could follow the lead of Barbara McClintock and perform activities that help them understand the relationship between genotype and phenotype.