Monday, September 5, 2011

Montessori Musings: Geography

One of the things on my summer bucket list was to introduce my children to the different land forms in the Montessori curriculum. The whole aspect of Montessori that involves teaching nomenclature is especially important to my children, because they are bilingual.  Because they speak German all day long at school, they will not casually run into words like "isthmus", "cape" or "archipelago"in their everyday life without extra help on my part.  Montessori lessons not only teach them the concepts, but build their vocabulary in English as well.

For anyone not familiar with the typical landforms used in a Montessori lesson, you can find free downloadable cards here at Montessori Materials. After introducing the various landforms, I made a booklet for my son to color using materials that I received for taking part in Karen Tyler's on-line Montessori course. (See this post for more info on Karen's course.)

My son looking through his land forms booklet. 
Although my 5-year-old daughter was interested in the land forms themselves and in finding them on the globe, she did not want to make a booklet. My 8-year-old, though, found it all very fascinating and drew a flat map of the world to decorate the cover of his booklet.

He was very proud of the artwork he did for the cover.
After making the booklet, we used a globe to find examples of each of the land forms.  Then, several days later, after reviewing the booklet, we decided to make the land forms with sand and water.  I had originally planned to do this outside on the playground, but we have had the rainiest summer that I can ever remember having here in Berlin and it was pouring down on the day I chose to do this.  So, we ended up doing it all in our kitchen.  With trays, dirt and water, the kids sculpted various land forms from the booklet.

Making a strait . . . 
 . . . and an  isthmus.
A couple of capes . . . 
 . . . and an archipelago!
As you can imagine, it took a while to clean up my kitchen, but the satisfaction of hearing both children later that week still talking about them and finding the land forms by themselves on the globe made it all worth it!

Linked to Montessori Monday!


  1. I love your activities for introducing land and water forms! It's so much fun to see what you're doing with Karen's course ... great job! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:

  2. Thank you for this idea!! So fun! Are you in Karen's online class too? Our landform cards look just the same. My kids really enjoyed the cards at first, but their interest has faded. This activity will surely reinvigorate them. Thank you!!

  3. Thank you, Deb! It's always fun to be featured on your page!

  4. Hi Rebecca, So glad that this post is helpful! Yes, I am also in Karen's course, group 17. So fun that you are taking the course as well!

  5. What a great hands on activity to learn about land and water- even though my kids are in their teens I am tempted to go through this lesson with them!

  6. Thanks, April! If you do decide to do this with your teens, be sure to let me know how it goes.: )