Life Science learning is an exciting time for children and adults. Below is a Montessori approach to bringing life sciences into your learning environment.
Montessori Life Science Sequence & Approach
Big Picture Life Science Approach
Beginning with a BIG picture approach, we have three main areas of life sciences learning:
Introduce the next sequence by using a real animal or plant. For example, if you have a fish or a plant, bring it to a work table along with a figurine/fake plant and a picture of the animal or plant.
- First, introduce the real plant or animal
- Ask the children a series of questions about what they see as they observed the representation. Write down the observations.
- Then put aside the real plant or animal and bring out the figure and ask the same types of questions. Cross out any observation or descriptive word that can no longer be used to describe the plant or animal.
- Finally, put the figure aside and pull out an image of the plant or animal. Cross out any observation or descriptive word that can no longer be used to describe the plant or animal.
The message is a powerful one.
Montessori Life Science Lesson Sequence
Once we establish the definitions of each life science area, we move forward with this three-step sequence:
- Observations of / How to Care for
- Parts of the Plant/Animal
- Simple Nomenclature Cards
Observing is perhaps my favorite part of these exercises. Observation is a great skill to instill in children and to cultivate in ourselves. Plus, with observation, we often have the opportunity to spend time outdoors in nature, which children generally enjoy. Within the conversation, work in ways to care for the plant or animal. Maybe even demonstrate to the child.
With observation, ask many questions. Examples include:
- How does it sound?
- What does it feel like? (Be careful with this one for obvious reasons such as damage and getting our oils on a small insect.)
- Does it have a smell?
- How does it grow?
- How does it communicate?
- From where does it get its nutrients?
- Why do you think this plant/animal likes living in our yard? what does it like?
- What do you think this plant/animal does during the colder months to survive?
- What is the purpose of this plant/animal?
- How does it help our earth?
Other important points to consider emphasizing to a child:
- Every plant and animal has a purpose and helps our earth in some way
- Our job is to find a way to co-exist with that particular plant or animal.
- Try to keep any squirminess to myself, especially in front of kids.
- Do whatever possible to nurture a child’s sense of awe and wonder. A child is born with an innate sense of curiosity. Our job is to make sure that sense of awe and wonder does not leave the child.
After observation, integrate life sciences puzzles to begin introducing a child to the parts of the plant or animal. You will be amazed at the power of education. Once a child learns about the parts of a plant or animal, he seems to gain even more respect for that plant or animal. So, caring for the plant or animal becomes second nature.
I hope you found this Montessori life science overview useful!