I have several sources of the Great lessons in manuals and online but I have chosen to follow those that are on MissBarbara.net because I feel that they are the best fit for our family. There are many options depending on how you feel about the information. I personally prefer to teach the most up to date scientific information available so there are often times when I add or change the information to suit our needs.
We had a discussion about what makes humans different than other animals. There are three things we have that make us different, our hands, our brain and the ability to love. We read the story of the Coming of Life and then went through several books on the subject that we found at our local library. T's favorite was one called The Stick and Stone Age (A cartoon history of the Earth). It had some great information in comic book form.
When T had enough time with the books (and B went down for her nap) we stopped for a fun little project. I got the idea for making stone tools out of clay from a recent post at Making Montessori Ours. We used the crayola air drying clay because we had it on hand. T chose to use the brown clay and he also chose to not let it dry but continue to make other tools for over an hour.
Some of his favorite creations were a harpoon and a knife.
We then moved on to a little study on the human hand. I pulled out our copy of The Hand Book and the model hand that goes with it. We didn't read through the book but just did some of the exercises in it and looked at the model.
There are some really fun exercises like taping your thumb to your hand so that you can't use it properly. Then try to do activities that you would normally use your thumb to see how useful it really is.
Trying to pick up a pencil was fun.
Writing with a pencil was even more difficult
Then he pulled out the hex bolt board and gave it a try, not as easy as he thought.
The book even had a comparison picture of hands belonging to humans and four other primates
I didn't buy this book specifically for this lesson but it really turned out to be helpful and I would recommend it. We also tried a few more experiments like testing your hand's reaction time when dropping a dollar bill (we used a fake $100 bill instead). It really showed how the thumb is so important and how the brain is linked to the hand.
When we were finished with the hand book, T went back to his clay work
That was the end of our Third Great Lesson this year. We plan to do lots of follow up work on prehistoric humans and move into human anatomy.