Can You Find The Sun? Botany, Biomes, and the Study of Energy
In our last Montessori Spring post, I talked about gardening as advanced practical life for adolescents. This week I am going to continue talking a little bit about plants and how we study them formally past early activities.
Throughout the past few weeks we have continued with seed starting and care. At last count 222 seeds have been started in four flats and about 75% of them are up. We repotted a flat of tomatoes that are doing particularly well and are getting fresh air for the cool weather seedlings that love the 40 degree days we have been having lately. It's also almost time to start doing some early spring work on our garden beds. (For the record, I have the hardest time being patient this time of year and almost always jump the gun and end up making more work for myself!)
Botany can't stop with work in the garden though. It has to continually tie back to the other areas of the curriculum. The natural place for this is through our science and geography Biome study units. With biome study we are always on the lookout for all parts of the biome. Where is the energy? Photosynthesis has become a lesson that I present almost every single year. (Guess what? Today, 3/21 only, my photosynthesis material and command cards are 40% off as part of the monthly #MontessoriLove promotion!) One of the most important concepts in botany, in my opinion, is that all energy comes from the sun and we need the plants to get it. I won't stop reinforcing this every year until I'm sure my kids understand it!
We focus on one geographic region or biome at a time (we just finished the coral reef and are now working on Antarctica) to study the interconnected nature of life. Where is the sun's energy underwater? What types of plants grow in an Antarctic environment? At the older ages, we have mostly moved past species identification (although we do keep an eye out for unique native species to add to our nature journals). For every region of study we look at food chains with growing level of detail based on age.
It is often easy to get kids excited about animal species, but don't forget about the plants as your child grows!
Be sure to check out all of the posts in the Our Montessori Spring Themed Activities Series at I Believe in Montessori, Welcome to Mommyhood, Mumma Diaries, Elementary Observations, Uno Zwei Tutu, Montessori en Casa, Montessori Trails, Teaching From A Tacklebox, & Slow Montessori!