Saturday, December 6, 2014

Air Cycle Ballet and Our Planet Collage

The Waseca biome curriculum is one possible linear path through the traditional Montessori AMI geography album and some of the biology album. I would describe it as "a subset of what is already contained in traditional Montessori geography (and biology) albums plus a few extension materials/exercises that are pretty neat."  I find the Montessori geography and biology albums a bit daunting because they are really a big collection of key lessons that you can give in almost any order that follows the child's interest.  At the same time, the knowledge presented builds upon itself in such a way that it is hard for me to skip around in the albums.  I find it easier to skip around by section but to present the section in order.  I was so intimidated by the geography album in particular that I found myself not doing it.  So, for our family the Waseca biome curriculum has been a blessing because it has provided a path for me to follow and got us going on the album (digging in, really).

Anyway, we were trucking along through the biomes curriculum and when I came to the first "Sun and Earth" lesson it launched us fully into the "Sun and Earth" section of our KotU geography album and I spent about two months presenting that section from nearly beginning to end (pages 70-98).  Now we only have about four pages left in that section before we move into the section "The Work of Air."  This will be truly following Kal-El's interest because he has been specifically asking about the causes of wind in recent weeks.  Of course, this is a bit of chicken/egg situation.  Am I following his interest or was his interest in wind made possible by his new knowledge of the Sun and Earth?  Funny how that work.  The moral of that story:  If your child doesn't express any particular "interests" just keep giving presentations and interests will start popping up all over.

The last part of the "Sun and Earth" section in KotU is "The Protection of the Atmosphere and the Rains."  It was our first breaking point in a while that sent us back to the biomes curriculum where we picked up the linear progression again. We told the story "All Energy Comes from the Sun."  I didn't get a picture, but pulled a real houseplant and models of a grasshopper, frog, snake, and eagle off our shelves to assist with the story. You can read the story yourself through the link to the free online version of the biome curriculum on this page.

Another day we acted out the "Air Cycle Ballet."  One of the boys is a plant and the other an animal.  The plant has taken the energy from the sun (and minerals and water from the soil).  They take in carbon dioxide from the air and give off oxygen.  The animals inhale that oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.  The boys are using their hands to bring in and give back the appropriate gases. 

Waseca, Air Cycle Ballet

Another day we made the "Our Planet Collage."  This involved tracing a dinner plate as well as the continents of North and South America from our puzzle map.  Stretched out cotton balls provide a visual symbol of the normally invisible atmosphere protecting the Earth.

Waseca, Our Planet Collage

I like that the Waseca extensions here have provided a story and sensorial experiences to kick off our study of the "protection of the the atomosphere and the rains" in the KotU album.

I realize that I did skip blogging about the final work chart in the "Sun and Earth" section of the album.  We did it, but I didn't take photographs.  I will hopefully have time to lay that work out again so I can show you a few pictures.


  1. Very cool!! Maybe in the spring after the birthdays when things quiet a bit...we'll get to more of the geography. So many things. Thanks for the little prod though. I love the boys' pjs. They are so tall!!

    1. As always, the fact that we are "getting to" this means there are ten other things we are "not getting to." Nature of the beast I guess.

  2. Ugh. You're pulling me! We did fine with the albums (doing kind of what you describe - sticking with a chapter until hitting a plateau, then moving to a different chapter), but the Waseca stuff.... I just need to get my hands on it at some point and play ;) Sounds like fun!

    1. LOL. I like to think of these Waseca extensions as "thinks Maria Montessori might have added to the albums if she had happened to think of them." But, as you always say, not necessary but nice to have when the child is interested.