Montessori uses five “Great Lessons” as an introduction to all topics. It provides children with a big picture to demonstrate how sciences, art, history, language and geography are interrelated. This idea resonates well with our learning style. We did our own version of the first Great Lesson last year and LD still talks about it (and the science experiments and activities that followed).
This year we’re off to explore the Second Great Lesson, which is essentially an introduction to geologic time — the earth’s timeline of events. If you’ve read our blog, you’ll see this also fits in well as we’ve been lucky enough to find fossils both in Australia and in Missouri in the past six months or so. Also, we hadn’t ever studied dinosaurs and that was one thing DD was particularly interested in studying this year.
To introduce the idea of timelines, we started small and have worked our way to the BIG earth timeline.
We did these activities over the course of a week or so:
1) I wrote out index cards with events in our daily life (get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, play/do school activities, lunch… etc.) LD had to read them and put them in order with the first event at the top and the last event at the bottom.
2) LD’s Timeline: We talked about the fact that timelines can keep track of the events/progress of our individual lives.
We brought out the chicken embryo activity and put those in the proper chronological order. Then we read through the cards with events I had chosen from LD’s own life.
LD was an IVF baby (as was DD, but ED was not–surprise!)… so we talked about the fact that we have pictures of him even at 8 cells, 8 wks, 12, 18, 36 and 37wks. Anyway, then we read through some other highlights — being born, first tooth learning to talk, his first word (you get the idea). We mixed up the cards and he had to figure out his own life timeline.
I have to say that this was a lovely, lovely day with a lot of good talking and bonding!
3) Our family timeline: Our third timeline exercise was our family history — which went back to Grandpa being born, grandpa learning to walk, grandpa learning to design airplane engines, Grandma writing a successful book… Daddy becoming an Eagle scout, Mom joining the Peace Corps and teaching in Hungary… all the way through ED learning to walk. There were lots and lots of family cards (vacations, big moments in our lives) and again it was lovely just talking through some of those events.
I thought it was quite funny when LD took the “Grandpa was born” card and ran across the room saying “That was a LOOOooooooooong time ago!” as he put it next to the wall!
4) The Earth’s Timeline: I’ll save this for the next post as I’m out of time for now.