September

13

2011

The Big Bang

Filed under: Snapshots

The second day of school, Ella came home and said:

“It turns out that God didn’t create the whole world – there was this big bang.”

When Ella came home excitedly talking about volcanos and explosions, I knew she must have had her First Great Lesson: The Beginning

From Mariamontessori.com

I was so excited because I love the Five Great Lessons for elementary children in Montessori. These exciting lessons happen at the beginning of each year, usually on the first or second day!

(From Montessori for Everyone) The First Great Lesson is the most memorable. It involves the use of a balloon and gold stars to tell the story of the beginning of the universe. This lesson also includes some demonstrations using solids and liquids to show how the continents and oceans first came together. 

It leads to the study of:

    • Astronomy: solar system, stars, galaxies, comets, constellations
    • Meteorology: wind, currents, weather, fronts, erosion, water cycle, clouds, glaciers
    • Chemistry: states of matter, changes, mixtures, reactions, elements, atoms, periodic table, compounds, molecules, chemical formulas, equations, lab work, experimentation
    • Physics: magnetism, electricity, gravity, energy, light, sound, heat, friction, motion, experimentation
    • Geology: types of rocks, minerals, land forms, volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics, ice ages, eras of the earth
    • Geography: maps, globes, latitude/longitude, climates, land/water form names, continent and country research

Origins of the Universe pic

Maria Montessori was devoutly religious, and brought many of her beliefs into the Great Lessons. These lessons came about back when religious beliefs were an accepted, natural part of everyday life (including schools) but can be tailored to be more fact-based.

 

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  1. I don’t remember elementary school being so exciting and interesting. I feel slightly cheated.
    Twitter: MamaWantsThis

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    • So do I! I wish I went to an elementary Montessori school.
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  2. This is one area in which I feel completely clueless when it comes to explaining it to my daughter. There’s this Big Bang theory, which is the basis of science, and then the world as created by God. And I, as a Christian mom, am having a difficult time combining those two together.

    You mentioned that Maria Montessori was religious. Do share how she incorporated her beliefs into her teachings pleaaaase :)
    Twitter: dosweatthesmall

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  3. This is not something I could teach my kids, either. But this certainly looked like fun!
    Twitter: MamasMonologues

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  4. Oh how I remember the Great Lessons and early science excitement — what fun! Soon followed by MANY volcano projects (and other crazy wonderful experiments) at home! Gee… wonder why both my kids are studying science in college and beyond… So great to relive through Ella’s excitement! :)
    Twitter: wordsxo

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  5. Montessori herself called this lesson, “God with No Hands”. She was a devout Catholic. She was a strong scientist and observer. She developed her method as a response to the needs that she observed in children. She developed a whole curriculum to allow children to explore Christianity called sometimes the “Catechesis of the Good Shepard” and sometimes “the Atrium”. Of course, most Montessori schools are nonsectarian, but Christian Montessori schools use this curriculum as do many Sunday schools (including my children’s Sunday school). In can be confusing to say there was a big bang AND God created the world, but it doesn’t have to be. Isn’t it often said that God works in mysterious ways? This could easily be part of His mysterious ways.

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  6. I never understood what was so hard about combining the two. Maybe it’s because many religious people believe in literal translations of Biblical texts?

    I love the wonder on the kids’ faces in that pic. THAT’s what education is supposed to be about.
    Twitter: TheMamamash

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    • I agree – I never considered that the two could not coexist side by side – I mean, (to me – and this is just me!) – who created that first flicker or spark or whatever it was that led to everything?
      I love how spiritually and globally-minded 6 year olds are. Full of wonder.
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  7. It’s amazing when kids make discoveries! My step-son came to me with this question when he was in his teens. I’m a firm believer that religion and science can co-exist. I told him that I think there was a big bang and guess who created THAT?!
    Twitter: AnnHolly

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  8. When Big T was in first grade last year the highlight of his year was when they were talking about the solar system. They had a great project where they could create their own planet. I LOVE how create Big T was able to be.
    Twitter: HStayingAfloat

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  9. Raising some brilliant minds! I love it!

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    • Fingers crossed – the thing about Montessori that I love the most is they do not snuff out the innate curiousity a child has. I am hoping that somehow this love of learning will stay with them forever and will keep that childlike curiosity from getting snuffed out…
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  10. I don’t remember what I studied in my elementary school. The only thing I remember is that I accidentally broke nose of my best friend and she still has the mark of injury on her nose. It was a big bang for her.

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