Among so many other things, the month of September heralded the start of the spelling and homework routine, the beginning of weekly Specials, the study of the continent of Europe past and present, and the introduction of creation stories and experiments. Each year we present a series of what are called “great lessons” which serve as the backbone of Montessori Cultural Elementary curriculum. These lessons are impressionistic stories that are meant to inspire the students, evoke a sense of wonder about the subject matter, and instigate questioning, discussion and study. The first great lesson is the Creation Story or the Story of the Universe. This lesson attempts to simply but scientifically explain how the universe was created, how particles came together to form planets and stars, how remarkable it is that the Earth is the “Goldilocks planet,” and the basic truth that in the universe there are laws of nature that are obeyed to make order out of chaos. As an introduction to this lesson we read creation myths from a wide variety of cultures and examine how early humans attempted to understand these laws of nature. Sometimes students are inspired to compose their own creation myths. This year Ms. Corinne introduced a musical version of the creation story which we listened to while making artistic renderings of the story. We also present simple Creation experiments to introduce topics like states of matter, the water cycle, volcanic eruptions, and many others. We repeat these demonstration experiments and tie them altogether when we present the “Creation Show.” This year the Creation Show will take place in the afternoon on Friday, October 16. Both Junior El classes will gather in the spare classroom which will be darkened and specially set up with all the experiments as we dramatically tell the story. We hope students will come away with a point of departure for further studies in biology, Earth Science and history as well as an appreciation for our universe, planet and all their inhabitants. How exciting during a week when we learned about water on Mars, had the Autumnal Equinox and experienced a blood and super moon!
~ Susan Black, Elementary Teacher