Monday, November 4, 2013

Modified Second Great Lesson

 montessori five kingdoms chart

I presented a modified Second Great Lesson to the boys last week.  I didn't get any pictures that day, but I did today when the boys were doing some follow-up work.  We are not using the Timeline of Life for our Second Great Lesson (although we do own one).  If you want to read more about why I've chose to modify the Second Great Lesson you can in my post The Great Lessons and Religion.  

The "script" for my Second Great Lessons begins by informally recalling that during the Creation God created all living and non-living things (work on living/vs non-living, in particular the "characteristics of living things" is good companion work to this lesson as either a prerequisite or follow-up work.).   We recalled that we discussed the non-living things that God made during our First Great Lesson.  Then, I read Genesis 1:1-25, pausing as appropriate to point out the non-living things we talked about during the First Great Lesson and now to point out when God makes living things.  After I finish the reading, I told them that this lesson was going to focus on the living things that God created.  We made a list of those things based on what they remembered from the reading of Genesis:  vegetation, creatures of the sea and "every thing with which the water teams and that moves about it (an often underemphasized part, but important if you are about to talk about Prokaryotes and Protists), creatures of the air, creatures of the land.  If you have already done the "characteristics of living things work" it would also be easy to point out how the Bible text emphasizes that the vegetations and creatures will reproduce and the different modes by which they will do so.

Next, I take out the chart of the Five Kingdoms (ours is from Montessori Research and Development).  At this point my script segues into the story of the Five Kingdoms which I borrow  These are the specific pages I used.    I had to change the name of the kingdom Monera to Prokaryote to match my chart.  I think the name of the kingdom might be "Bacteria" in my follow-up chart, but we'll sort that out.  Otherwise, I used the script "as-is" from the website up until it describes the kingdoms individually.  I could have continued with the script here, but it was just easier to read the descriptions off the chart at that point.  I printed out the first pages of the website for myself to make the presentation easy.  Here is a photo (it will enlarge if you click on it):

I liked how this "story" gave a little information about the history of scientific classification and is upfront about the changeable nature of scientific classification.  I also liked how it gave us an opportunity to talk about how Aristotle's classification was the same as that in Genesis One.  Aristotle divided living things into two groups, Plants and Animals.  He further divided animals into three groups (fly, walk, swim).

Both boys worked with the mute chart today.

They both chose to start with the control upside-down and only flipped it at the end to check their work.

I was surprised that Me Too was able to complete the chart with the control flipped.  I was even more impressed that thanks to the Montessori method my first grader can both read and pronounce "Prokaryote."

The last sentence of each definition on the chart takes an evolutionary bent.  I am going to just cover those sentences with roll-on, white, correction tape that I can remove later for upper-elementary.

The boys each recorded part of our work and stored it in their binders.

I have similar charts for each of the five kingdoms that can be part of our follow-up work if we wish.  We will be also following-up with "the characteristics of living things," plant and animal story material, the animal adaptation game, as well as other biology work.  I really hope to get to the parts of cells before we do this Great Lesson again.

I would really appreciate it if you would take the time to go vote for me in the Homeschool Blog Awards.  I am nominated in the Best Homeschool Method blogs category.  Thanks!



    is a neat book you might like. Legoboy have had it for about a year now and keep forgetting to mention to people :) It is based on the earth being about 6000 years old and has SO MUCH detail. I bet your boys would like it at some point. Every time I look I find something new (it even has an artists' depiction of the decks on the ark...).


    1. Oooo...we have the Adam's map of history and I assumed they were pretty similar, but I wish I could see them both in person to see if they are different.

      Here's a video of the Adam's:

  2. Great post! I love seeing the diversity of the great lessons in other homeschools. We just did this lesson last week also if you would like to take a look.

    I like how you jumped into the kingdoms of life. We did a little reading on this but I still need to make our chart. I have decided to use the 6 kingdoms rather than the 5 kingdoms but that R&D chart is beautiful.

    1. Oh, you are TOTALLY in my feedreader and I saw your post :) Read it on the iPad though and I can't stand commenting on the iPad. Need to get time to read it again and comment on my desktop. Looked GREAT!

  3. Hi! Thank you for this! I love your blog and your work! I have been getting ready to present this lesson and like you was conflicted with the regular time line so this is a great inspiration =). Quick question, did you kids ask to learn about dinosaurs? My girl is fascinated by the topic and I'm not opposed to her learning about it, but I wonder how to go about it without deterring or diminishing the story from the Bible. Thanks again for a great post!

    1. No problem...Answer in Genesis has a lot of resources for you here:

      At the bottom of that page there are links to lots of books, magazines and videos for children that teach about dinosaurs from a Young Earth perspective. You can peruse the information on the rest of the page to give yourself a head start on how it is approached.