Dr. Montessori (or Mario or Grazzini depending on who your trainer was) created beautiful timelines of the coming of humans. Dr. Montessori’s first begins at 500,000 years ago and the second at 40,000. As BW, DW, and MMcC study the hominids and since BW created his own time line beginning 3 million years ago Mrs. JW and I decided to utilize BW’s timeline and extend the first of Dr. Montessori’s timelines on out.
A side note on making work. Lots of people get grand ideas that they have a better plan than Dr. Montessori for a myriad of reasons. And really they might. Dr. Montessori evaluated, changed and even scrapped work based on observations and comments of others. However, one must really understand what Dr. Montessori was trying to communicate with the work she made in that sequence, ask whether or not it truly benefits the child, and ponder exactly what you hope to communicate to the child. Making work is tough. Making great work is extremely difficult. Ms. JW and I have been discussing this for about two weeks. We’ve debated pros and cons. We’ve read both AMI and AMS manuals. We’ve looked at Dr. Montessori’s writings. We’ve wrestled with the facts of geology and anthropology and the difficulties when looking at two separate fields of study and combining them. There were parts that we almost scrapped entirely as we were making them because we weren’t sure that we were communicating effectively. I am grateful that I was not trying to do this on my own. It takes a sounding board to push beyond one’s ideas to create something that communicates a theme to children.
DW has been looking at the skeletal evidence for early hominids as well as how Australopithecus met his fundamental needs. (Her big question became: “At what point do we define ‘human’?”
BW has been looking at skull structure for hominids and how they met their basic fundamental needs.
We were wondering if the timeline could incorporate these topics (since they are included in the original 500,000 year chart). Our other wonder was, “can we make the eras, ages, and periods removable to aid in BW’s very kinesthetic learning style.
Off we began. This is what we ended up with:
The children are laying out the ages of the earth that are relevant to our study.
After our initial lesson, the children were asked to decide what they were going to do to help them understand the lesson more fully. Both BW and DW decided to make charts – but vastly different charts. This one has the skulls and the Montessori developments cards on it.
The chart with everything laid out. Barely visible are the glaciation periods – really that is the term. They are made from contact paper doubled over itself.
BW deep in concentration creating his version of the timeline.
Another view of BW’s timeline. Note the pop-up guys for each of the hominid groups. The bright red flourish is fire.