The Lower Elementary Deep Dive: What’s the Famous “Creation Story” Lesson?
At the beginning of each year, Lower Elementary students learn about “The Creation Story,” which explains how the universe and the Earth came to be through a simple narrative and impressionistic demonstrations that illustrate each concept. For example, a glitter filled balloon is popped to show the power of the Big Bang; glitter is sprinkled on water, which then clumps together, to illustrate that every particle has a gravitational pull; solder, wax, and ice are heated simultaneously to show that matter melts at different rates; and a series of aging apple cores show how the Earth cooled and shrunk over millions of years to create the dramatic landscape that is the surface of the Earth today. These impressions aren’t exactly scientific, but they do create an image that sticks in the minds of Lower Elementary children because they ignite their imaginations. From these demonstrations, through the elementary years, students learn the science behind the story through the “Culture” curriculum, which by Maria Montessori’s definition, includes geography, geology, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and astronomy. Using the Creation Story as a context for why one might learn about gravity, magnetism, wind currents, land and water forms or the states of matter, children at MMS gain a deep understanding of the world around them and their place in it.
An important contextual note: The “Creation Story” is one of the “Five Great Lessons” which are presented in lower elementary (grades 1-3). “[They] are presented every year so that children see them more than one time. Unlike the 3-6 environment, where the child is introduced first to “small” ideas that gradually widen into larger concepts, the elementary child is introduced right away to large concepts – the largest of all being the beginning of the universe. Then they can be shown how all the smaller ideas fit into the larger framework.” Learn more about the “Five Great Lessons” here.
By Jody Quam, Elementary Co-Director