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The First Great Lesson: Coming of the Universe and the Earth
Montessori Elementary Curriculum:
First Great Lesson – Coming of the Universe and the Earth

The First Great Lesson is the most memorable and is often done on the very first day of school. 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.
This lesson 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). Things are different today, and if you are teaching at a school, you’ll probably want to stick to a factual account of the beginning of the universe (see the end of this post for some resources); if you’re at home, you can feel free to tailor the lesson to your own family’s religious beliefs. The story is inspirational to children no matter which version they hear. (See photo: origins of the universe)

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