Someone once told me that the Montessori Science curriculum is the foundation for elementary. As in, children learn all the other subjects off of science. It basically covers from the Big Bang all the way to all things human. It’s a vast curriculum. One where you are not expected to cover everything in the albums by 6th grade.
I have 2 albums for science: geography and biology. Biology covers zoology (animals) and botany (plants). Geography in a way covers everything else: astronomy, geology, physical geography, chemistry, water, wind, economics, etc. You are essentially studying the earth and all the fields related to it. One thing they keep telling us during training is: Don’t follow the album sequence in presentation. However, even many schools do this. They may decide to do the section on Wind, Water, or human anatomy in upper elementary, and biology in lower elementary.
Especially with homeschooling, I see the varied interests and various questions the children ask and it seems obvious to follow their interests. However with such a vast curriculum it is hard to know where to start. I was really to happy to come across the recommendation of a series of books from What Did We Do All Day. The books are called Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. For his K-2 book, he divided scientific knowledge into 4 sections, Nature of Matter (chemistry and the like), Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth Science. What I like about the book are:
- It follows my Montessori curriculum. I have only looked closely at the beginning presentations and it’s basically the same order as what we present in the primary albums. And the contents are mostly the same as well.
- But it is WAY more in depth. The author lists recommended books, how many minutes it takes to present, a guide on how to teach science, follow up activities, etc.
- In a way, Physical Science is modern science so was not included in our training. So it’s not in our album.
- The BEST part is the 2 page chart on the sequence of presentation. He tells you exactly the prerequisites for each presentations, and sometimes those presentations require other presentations from other sections.
Last year, Thumper watched a lot of Magic Schoolbus on Netflix and started sprouting scientific facts. And for awhile I was very confused and wondered, “Why can’t we just watch a lot of TV to learn science?” I had to have a talk with my fellow homeschooling friend to understand it’s important for the child to also experience science. I also realized the other important thing is to see how everything is connected. Biology is connected to chemistry is connected to earth science, etc. They’re not specific unit subjects to study. Scientific knowledge, really all knowledge, is not about memorizing little facts but seeing the connections between facts. And the Montessori curriculum provides a framework through its Great Lessons in tying these things together. Similarly I feel like this author understands this by that 2 page chart on presentation sequence. He’s showing me what I need to know in one subject in order to learn about another subject. Best of all, he’s helping me make sense of my albums. It’s my one frustration, that there’s no scope and sequence in my album.