From Austria to Zeus: LE Studies Europe
Each year, Lower Elementary studies two or three different continents in depth. That means learning about a continent through a variety of different lenses: cultural, political, geographical (biomes) as well as historical. Maria Montessori was particularly interested in helping students understand how a country’s bodies of water, topography, and plant and animal life impacted elements of its food, entertainment, shelter, transportation, and ultimately societies and political institutions. That’s why countries that share borders often have similar cultures.
This fall, LE is studying Europe, and later it will be focusing on Africa (last year, LE studied Australia and Asia). Throughout the semester, students heard many presentations from parents and faculty—covering Belarus, Italy, France, Belgium, England, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, and England—which the children enjoyed tremendously! In their home classrooms, first and second graders have been doing exercises to learn about specific plant and animal species, while third graders have tackled more cultural topics (including everything from tapas to sessile oaks). Our specialists have eagerly been contributing their own activities to help build students’ knowledge. Check out the photo below of Mr. Jackson’s chariot race in P.E.; The other two photos feature images of Ancient Greece-inspired artwork. The unit also included a division-wide trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so children could see Ancient Greek vases, images of the Acropolis and Greek gods, like Athena, Zeus, Aphrodite, Apollo, and Hercules.
Some students became so fascinated with Ancient Greece, they decided to delve into related research projects.
The third graders had an incredible opportunity to Skype with an archeologist. Below is Ana C’s summary of the event:
Recently we (third graders) Skyped someone called Eleni all the way in Ancient Corinth in Greece. She works at the American School of Classical Studies over there. She told us about her job. She is an archeologist. One fact she gave us about her job is that archeologists DO NOT dig up dinosaurs! Another fact was that archeologists can’t keep the stuff they dig, which is really sad because she once dug up an actual sword (with no handle though)!!!! She said anything you dig up belongs to the country where you found it. Now I know more about archeology! We also learned how to say “Kalimera”! That means “good day” in Greek!”