One of the foundations of Montessori zoology is the Living/Non-Living exercise. The Montessori zoology lesson is given early on in the school year, first given in a large group, then individual and then in a small group. This work in some form is placed on the shelf all year for the most part. By the way I have a FREE Living/Non-Living Printable you should check out!
To introduce the work say, “I have something to show you today. We're going to talk about living and non-living.” Then using your class pet or class plant as a prop, and ask your class:
Does our plant…
…have more plants?
Once you receive affirmative answers, say: “Our plant is living.” Then go through a numbers of objects in a basket, asking the same questions. My MEIPN instructor suggest three passages of objects over time: large, medium and small. Then to refresh the objects to give life to the work over the year. Once the class has “mastered” the objects, then introduce nomenclature cards.
I used a mix of 8 objects and created zoology labels (free for your downloading pleasure) backing them on Red the Montessori color code for Zoology. I placed the objects, the labels and two pieces of felt in a small basket. Then I invited my son over to the work, asking him to carry his work rug with him over to me.
I actually introduced this lesson when we were out on a nature walk earlier in the day. I was able to stop for a moment at a patch of newly “sprouted” grass and a few small rocks. I asked him the questions above and we talked more about living and non-living as we walked along the trail. During the actual lesson, we took a closer look at our kidney bean sprout. We “planted” this bean in a mason jar as an observational experiment. Nothing is easier to grab a child's attention. I highly recommend the exercise. In fact, I ordered a Root-Vue Farm because my boys were so enthralled in the process.
This first round was fairly simple for my son. So, next time around, I need to mix in a couple of tough ones. He actually questioned the car because “it gets fuel, mama, and it moves.” Yup, it does. I am excited to love onto Plant/Animal and Vertebrates/Invertebrates soon.
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