Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Montessori Third Great Lesson - Notes

Montessori teachers for Lower Elementary -- and I'm no exception -- casually toss off references to the Great Lessons all the time. "Oh, that's part of the Fourth Great Lesson." It used to drive me crazy when I was new and couldn't tell them apart, and other veteran teachers would do that. Now I talk like that and don't even notice. They're as familiar to me as breathing!

There are tons of comments about the Six Montessori Great Lessons sprinkled all throughout the 1500+ posts in my blog. They are done every year in Lower Elementary (mixed age class, ages 6-9). So here I'm trying to assemble some more precise, and chronological, notes since I am currently going through them more slowly one-on-one with tutoring clients.

This post is a continuation of my previous two; I have each of the Great Lessons as a tag in my blog posts so you can search for ideas that way; I also have book suggestions on my website under My Montessori Library.

Montessori First Great Lesson - How the Earth and Universe Came to Be

Montessori Second Great Lesson - How Life Came to Be

The Third Great Lesson topic is How Humans Came to Be. In older resources it is also sometimes referred to as The Coming of Man.

week 1
recall the Tree of Life wooden puzzle and fact file cards from Waseca Biomes

read Grandmother Fish: A Child's First Book of Evolution by Jonathan Tweet

lay out The Human Evolution Card Set from Clocca Concepts

overlay and compare shape of tracing paper skulls (traced from the book Early Humans by Michelle Breyer)

    Ape skull, page 111
    Australopithecus skull, page 112
    Homo Habilis skull, page 122
    Homo Erectus skull, page 129
    Neandertal skull, page 145
    Cro-Magnon and Modern Human skull, page 154

hold and compare weight of jars of rice, set out tracing paper skulls and rice jars by the correct hominid cards on the Human Evolution Card timeline

    dried rice in half gallons jars to show the capacity of the brain, labeled as follows (1 cc is approximately equal to 1 mL rice)

    Australopithecus 500 cc

    Homo Habilis 800 cc

    Homo Erectus 1100 cc

    Homo Sapiens 1500 cc

watch the awesome human migration map Journey of Mankind: The Peopling of the World from The Bradshaw Foundation (for me this only works on Firefox, but it's definitely worth the hassle of downloading another browser)

week 2
recall the Human Evolution card timeline, tracing paper skulls, and rice jars

tell the story of The Coming of Man with artifacts

  • oyster shell
  • deer antlers
  • rabbit skin
  • koala fur and leather drawstring pouch
  • pine needle baskets
  • shell buttons
  • wheat stalks

play the Hunters and Gatherers Simulation Game from Early Humans, pages 133-140

week 3
recall the Hunter-Gatherer Simulation Game, draft two page spread for MLB

add termite mound construction paper collage illustration inspired by artwork in insectlopedia by Douglas Florian and Animal Architects: Amazing Animals Who Build Their Homes by Julio Antonio Blasco and Daniel Nassar

week 4
recall early human nomadic life, do "A Look at Terra Amata" activity from Early Humans, pages 130-131

review the green dots on the Journey of Mankind map, do agriculture experiments with plant items of your choice (thoroughly moisten a paper towel, fold in half and place a possible seed inside, place in a ziploc bag and zip shut, set in a warm and summy spot, check periodically for germination)

    we chose:

    orange seed
    wheat berries
    grains of black forbidden rice
    grains of white arborio rice
    grains of brown ride

week 5
open ziploc bags and look at results of seed experiments

add Terra Amata activity artwork and words of explanation to MLB

read When Cave Men Painted by Norman Bate

make cave art on pastel paper with willow charcoal and chalk pastels

week 6
recall cave art, watch Lascaux Cave Paintings - Virtual Tour on Vimeo and watch for the exact cave painting from the story When Cave Men Painted

add cave art and words of explanation to MLB

Note: I don't yet own this but my next purchase towards this lesson is the Paleolithic Stone Tool Kit from Clocca Concepts ($125.00).

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

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