THIS post, Preparing a Hominids Shelf, is all about how to use the cards, display them, and what other work to add to enhance children’s learning. As always, I am excited to share these ideas with you!
In the Montessori world, teachers rely on open shelves to invite children to use hands-on materials as a means for learning. You can do this at home too using any available surface. Seriously! In the traditional school, these materials would be part of themed learning centers and often placed by the teacher on each table or in a place where a child can find them when instructed.
What’s on the First Shelf ?
This shelf has the Timeline of Line, a skull replica, the Story of Humans cards, a timeline of hominids, and a poster label.
One of the key concepts in science related to animals (including humans), is to be able to identify and describe how organisms adapt and change over time. The “>timeline of life (a Montessori staple) is a wonderful way to show through pictures in a hands-on way life over time. Since my daughter is learning French, I went ahead and bought this inexpensive timeline so she could also practice her third language. It is as good as the expensive version we used in third grade.
I haven’t been able to create (yet!) any task cards for the skull but by just placing it there I hope it will invite my children to wonder about our species cranial structures and their functions. To be reported later! Click here to purchase the same skull. Then, added the Story of Humans and the Hominids Timeline.
What’s on the Second Shelf ?
This shelf has 3 main works: mini homemade books someone gifted me about different species of hominids, a tray with an invitation to retell the story of humans, and the task cards. These cards are meant as in-depth work. Each card is labeled sequentially and targets specific skills by inviting students to do a specific task. Most tasks require research, analysis, and critical thinking skills.
What’s on the Third Shelf?
The third shelf includes a basket with appropriate books. Then, I took my favorite book and gave it ‘prime view’ by using a stand. Because I want children to always have paper handy I included a box with precut paper. I envision them using this paper to make their books full of drawings that helps them process all the information. Finally, I included a tray with clay and clay carving tools. I don’t want to lead them too much but I’m hoping that they will initiate modeling the phenotypical characteristics of various species.
The shelf appears to be a hit so far. Yippee! Although in Montessori we usually place materials from left to right in the order of complexity, I decided to focus on aesthetics and not order. In other words, I was trying to appeal my girls visual interest.
Try this at home and share with chillaxscience!
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