All (LE) Eyes on Australia
In Lower Elementary, each year we study two to three select continents through a lens of a traditional Montessori study called the Fundamental Needs of Humans. The idea is that people, animals, and plants all have the same fundamental needs no matter the geographic location. This guides students’ research and as they create all kinds of projects. By the end of the three year cycle, students have studied how plants and animals are adapted to different biomes and how people meet their fundamental needs in different biomes for all the continents in the world.
This year, the first continent we’re focusing on is Australia. Diving into our study, students are working to learn the states and waterways of Australia. The first years are learning about various types of Australian fish, while the second years are beginning their research on the different biomes found in the continent. The third year students are beginning their research on the people of Australia, focusing on transportation, food, shelter, clothing, music, and art.
We were lucky enough to have a guest speaker from Australia visit Lower Elementary! Nick, father of Bailey and Holiday, showed us some photos of Australian animals, including the kookaburra, as well as the Harbor Bridge, which he told us you can climb atop! He talked about the Sydney Opera House and shared a short video of the “sails” on the Opera House lighting up at night. He also showed us some waterproof Australian dollars that are made from plastic. And because Australia is south of the equator, it’s hot there during Christmas. So he told us his family used to go surfing during Christmas. To top it all off he showed us his favorite boomerang!