Exploring the Montessori Science Curriculum
Children are naturally curious, and they have a tremendous ability to observe even the smallest of details. The Montessori science curriculum aims to give children the opportunity to learn about the world around them, and it encourages them to use all of their senses when exploring. Similar to the rest of the Montessori curriculum, the science area first piques children's interest with simple activities and gradually moves to more complex material.
During a unit on Space, a Primary student engages with matching cards to learn about the planets.
Maria Montessori believed it was very important to give children the proper name for everything they interacted with on a daily basis. This included any plants or animals they might observe in their environment. To this end, she created 3-part Nomenclature cards for many science activities. In addition to helping children identify and classify the natural world, these cards are a wonderful language activity that the Montessori environment uses from birth through high school.
One area of the natural world that the children explore is zoology. They begin by sorting different items into like categories, such as Living or Non-Living. Once children understand this concept, they begin to work their way through the animal classes as well as learn the characteristics of vertebrates and invertebrates. Montessori created many beautiful puzzles that complement our work with each animal class. These puzzles help the children learn to name the parts of each animal.
After a child assembles the pieces of a puzzle, extensions of the work can include push-pinning the puzzle pieces, assembling the paper pieces correctly, gluing them, and labeling them.
Similar to our zoology work, children are introduced to botany activities through our science curriculum. The children start by classifying plant or animal. This introductory material lays a foundation for children to learn the basic characteristics and needs of plants. From there, children learn to name the parts of plants and trees as well as identify many types of plants and trees in their natural surroundings.
Here, a student cuts, assembles, glues, and labels the parts of a flower.
In addition to using the materials that Maria Montessori developed for the classroom, children are introduced to scientific concepts such as buoyancy, magnetism, and life cycles. Throughout the year, the children explore and discuss different life cycles that coincide with the seasons. Each classroom has firsthand experience of the life cycle by watching a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly. Units on the solar system, dinosaurs, and the human body are also integral parts of the science curriculum.
Year 3 Students visited the Harvard Museum of Natural History for their Science Workshop
The Montessori science curriculum allows children to learn about the world around them while simultaneously engaging their sense of wonder. Science can be found everywhere; from the most simple nature walk to an in-depth discussion on how the Earth came into existence. These conversations lead to valuable teachable moments throughout the day.