Montessori Great Lessons - Part 1 Coming of the Universe, Earth, and Life

We have definitely been making the Great Lessons ours.  For us the Great Lessons have been going on for quite some time.  For those who may not be familiar with the Montessori Great Lessons, traditionally these are lessons that are given on varying levels starting in first year elementary, and are given at the beginning of each year there after.



These lessons can easily be adapted to suit your needs and beliefs as a family. As home schoolers we have the gift to completely customize this journey for our children and that is very exciting!!
I personally feel that the common thread is that most children have these questions at some point. In our case, they delivered such a grounding for Xander.

These Lessons must have been something to behold (as they still are today) in the days of Maria Montessori with the lack of world media exposure, we have so much in terms of learning materials readily available for all in many forms and media today - we are very fortunate!! This would have been such an amazing opportunity for children to receive such an introduction to the universe, our world culture,  nature and science - and could not be more important today (in my opinion)!! 

I cannot speak for Montessori schools or classrooms, but I can speak about our interpretation and experience with the Great Lessons as home schoolers (in our home). These lessons make tremendous sense to me, and as usual Maria Montessori (speaking for my child here) was so spot on in terms of timing for delivery of these lessons/information.

Our Great Lessons have unfolded very naturally. The first few lessons  -  Coming of the Universe and the Earth, Coming of Life, Coming of Human Beings have been questions that Xander has been asking about and we have been exploring for the past few years on different levels including various experiments. 

We did not follow any of the lessons literally (not that I think anyone should not- it was just not the path we took). We did start out reading books, watching documentaries, visiting many museums and various sites.

Because the initial groundwork had already been laid we jumped into study!! You may wish to do this differently - again - this is just the route that unfolded for us to take. Our home learning unfolds with the children's interests.

Below is a snap shot of some of what we did, and many of the resources we used to visit the first two Great Lessons - Coming of the Universe and the Earth, and the Coming of Life.

One of our favourite videos of the story of the earth and coming of life is National Geographic Earth - Making of a Planet. This is an incredible video with beautiful imagery, and a fantastic narrative of the story.



Xander loved this video that he is viewing above. It was created/narrated by Caty Petersilge The Coming of the Universe (God Who Has No Hands). This is the original story written by Maria Montessori, but with some slight adaptations.  She makes slight pauses for the introduction of charts.

This is another video by etcmontessori that we all love especially Ava 😍
Xander reads the subtitles to Ava.
 They especially like the final frame of the children from world cultures. The images are so moving.


This was our favourite series. These books were beautifully written, and are such a grounding incredible way of looking at this story.

Born With a Bang: The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story : Book 1 (The Universe Series) (Sharing Nature With Children Book)

 
From Lava to Life: The Universe Tells Our Earth Story: Book 2 (The Universe Series) (Sharing Nature With Children Book)


This is a large book that unfolds into a huge
 timeline 2.3 meters long. You can see at the beginning it has the forming of our galaxy. Be sure if you purchase it that it doesn't say "mini" because there is a tiny pocket version.
There are written accounts for each timeline on the back.
I purchased mine from the link above,  this link is for the UK store. This link has a fully detailed explanation of this timeline, and can be purchased there . Their Science & Engineering Wallbook also looks amazing.


There are lots of amazing timelines for the coming of life. Timelines are used extensively during the great lessons, and many others - it is just a really visually comprehensive way of chronologically presenting this information to a child. It really does help with the overall impression of time.


I really liked this timeline (below) because it was very impactful, and loaded with information. I also purchased the set of cards to go along with it. The cards can be matched to the timeline and they contain lots of extensive added information. My guys thoroughly enjoyed this set. I found the cost to be very reasonable for such a quality product - timelines can be pricey.
I bought our timeline/poster here and cards, but the don't seem to be available at the moment:(





This is our latest look at the National Geographic - Making of a Planet Video. Xander had his timeline out and unrolled/rolled it with the video, and found the creatures on our chart. We paused and chatted about each period and creatures as we went along. We also used this for the study of early man.


Xander is checking out a little box set of fossils above. This was a fun set for Xander because when we paid a visit to Bonnechere Caves they had a very extensive collection of very early fossils that he was able to hold and examine - this box contained many smaller samples of what he saw. During the initial presentation before you tour the caves they talk extensively about early life and the formation of rock during the formation of the caves. There was great explanation of sedimentary rock and erosion. This set includes several species and a description on the back of the box, and the period each specimen in from.
This is our box but it is currently unavailable :( There are many though to be found for a good price.
This is also a fantastic fossil book.


The dino book up in the right corner is also great book. It goes through dinos by period and is filled with great info. It has stickers of the dinos to be placed as you go through. Xander has had this book for about three years now and loves it!!



This is a T-Rex model that we bought for Xander a few years ago, and we brought it out for the presentation of this timeline. He is counting vertebrae 😃



The 36" T-Rex model - this is as close to ours. This skeleton is amazing!!


Above is a visit to Miller Hall - Geology Museum. They have an amazing collection of fossils, rocks, minerals and several displays that we were able to explore, and in addition Xander attended a class that covered the different types of rock and dino fossils.
He is looking at an ancient sea bed model above (they have a few).  All of the visits we have made have contributed significantly to his understanding.

Another visit was to the Nature Museum - Vale Earth Gallery, and Dino Fossil Exhibit. This is a museum we return to often.


Information and resources from around the web that I found interesting and helpful ( there are many many more!!)

Moteaco.com You can download the great lessons here and print a timeline for the coming of life
Montessori for Everyone - Has a fantastic explanation of the Great Lessons and how they lead into all areas areas of learning.
Discovery Moments - Has created a beautiful handmade timeline offered as a free download that is stunning. She has lots of other great info listed in this post.
Expedition Montessori - Has a wonder post with beautiful handmade charts lots of great links to other blogs and resources.
The Montessori Great Lesson Page - Amazing fully detailed information for the presentations.
Montessori Mom - This is a huge link list of GL information!! I always find MM so helpful:)    Earthly Issues - This site is loaded with links videos and great visuals.
Timeline Resource - This site has many different timeline resources
This is a really cool timeline of written facts for kids
This is a large link list for creation of the universe ebooks and docs for kids
National Geographic animated timeline of life on earth - we liked this one!
Melbourne Museum timeline
British Geological Survey another amazing animated timeline

 The Universe is an incredible journey to discover!
Best of luck to you who are making the Great Lessons yours😃


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10 comments:

  1. Per usual, I love your work! So inspiring! I would love to do this with my 5 yr old son once he's on the right age. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you!!! Have I mentioned I love your printables!!! You guys are always doing amazing work!! Thanks for the comment:)

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  2. What a great post! Thanks so much for all the detailed information and links! It will very helpful!

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    1. Thank you so much!! I really hope some of the links will be helpful... there are so many!!!

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  3. I love this post!! You have offered so many learning opportunities. I love how you always accompany the children's learning with outings to museums and such!!! What a wonderful learning environment you have created:)

    I am a huge fan of your blog!!!

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    1. It means so much to hear that :) Museums for us are hands on learning at it's best! Thank you :)

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  4. This is great! I love seeing others journey through the Great Lessons alongside us. It is fun to see how different, yet similar it is from different families/classrooms.
    I wanted that Charlie's Playhouse set but could never find it available. I think they went out of business, I tried contacting them and never got a reply. Its a shame, the material looks beautiful.
    I love the pics from the museum, field trips are always so engaging. I took my kids on a trip to one museum between the first and the second Great Lesson, and once we do the second this week, we will be visiting another museum. There is so much to discover and absorb! Thanks for all the links!

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    1. I do too!! I am not sure about Charlie's Playhouse. It looked as though they could be purchased from their site but it you didn't get a reply that is sad because it really is a beautiful product. Museums and other sites are a huge part of our home learning and a part that I think we love most. You are so right - there is so much available and it is so exciting... but yes... so much to take in:) Thank you!!

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  5. This is a really informative post! Thanks for sharing such great information!

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    1. I was hoping it would be helpful! We had such a great time with these lessons:) Thank you!!

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I greatly appreciate your friendly comments and feedback. I love to see what others are making, so please feel free to include a links and share your site with us!!! If you have any questions regarding any of the materials we have made...I'd love to help!!! Thank you for visiting us:)

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