Last week, I gave the Second Great Lesson to T. This was the first time we did this lesson. Last year, I got stuck on the Timeline of Life. We didn't have one last year and I didn't know what to do without it. Last year was our first year homeschooling and we had trouble with the transition. This year I decided we needed the Timeline of Life. The price was really what I was hung up on. Most places charge around $200 for the timeline control, mute and cards/labels. Two hundred dollars is a lot of Montessori supplies and I just couldn't get myself to spend that money on a big piece of paper. Originally I was going to make my own timeline but I am not an artist and it would have just taken too much time that I don't have. I lucked out and found this one used. It does have some small marks on it but none of them distract from the chart enough to be a problem. This particular chart came from ETC Montessori.
There are many ways to present this lesson. Traditionally, it revolves around the Timeline of Life and gives a short story of when each group of organisms originated. There are also lines on the timeline showing how each group descended from a previous group. Evolution is a "hot topic" in some places but I really think in homeschool you can follow whatever path you choose. We believe in the scientific theory of evolution, and therefore, we follow the Timeline of Life as shown.
I found several stories online and in my manual for this lesson and, once again, chose the story from Missbarbara.net. Since we did her First Great Lesson it flowed easily into this one. The story in my R&D manual followed the "God with no hands" lesson which I found too skewed towards religion. I also did not like the personification that was in the story. It reminded me a lot of the From Lava to Life book series by Jennifer Morgan. They tell a nice story, with nice pictures, but I did not like the personification used so we skipped them.
I told the story of the Timeline of Life and slowly unrolled the timeline to show each Era, while explaining the organisms he would see. We did need to adjust the story a bit because our timeline did not have all of the organisms from the story and the story didn't have all that were on the timeline. I adjusted to follow the timeline since that is what he was looking at while I told the story.
T decided to run and grab his fossils while I was telling the story. He pulled out the trilobite fossil right away when we entered the Cambrian period.
We also have a Brachiopod from the Ordovician period, two Ammonites from the Devonian period, a sea urchin fossil from Ordovician period and a fish vertebrae fossil from Devonian period.
A criniod fossil from Ordovician period (didn't make it into the photo)
And (T's favorite) fossilized dinosaur poop from the Mesozoic Era (far left)
|Top center: Brachiopod. Clockwise: Ammonite, Sea Urchin, Fish vertebrae. Far Left: dino poop|
|He needed a closer look at the dino poop|
We had fun with this lesson. My son loved the timeline and spent a long time looking at all the organisms and tracing their lineage. He also enjoyed pouring over the 20 or so books I got from the library on dinosaurs, prehistoric life, fossils, invertebrates, etc.