Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March (Vernal or Spring) Equinox - Montessori Culture & Science

The March Equinox, also known as the Spring or Vernal (meaning spring) Equinox in North America, takes place around March 21 annually. We choose to use the term March Equinox, because of our international student base. While it is spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it is fall in the Southern Hemisphere. The word Equinox is taken from the Latin words meaning equal and night. During an equinox, the days and nights are almost equal in length.

young girl works with NAMC montessori globe ideas for equinox activities

This is a great opportunity to study the relationship between the earth, sun and moon and the earth’s seasons. Most of the time, the earth is tilted either away from the sun, giving us our fall and winter seasons, or toward the sun, giving us our spring and summer seasons. Twice during each year, the earth is not tilted and the sun is pointed straight at the equator, giving us the equinox (around the 21st of March and the 21st of September).

Many cultural celebrations take place around the equinox, giving your students even more interesting topics to explore that are related to the equinox. Here are a few ideas to kick-start your plans to explore and enjoy the equinox with your Montessori students:

March Vernal Equinox Activities for the Montessori Classroom

  • Using a flashlight and a globe, have your students demonstrate the tilt of the sun at various times of the year, signifying the seasons.
  • Sing songs about the season together.
  • Encourage your students to read books about the seasons and have a lively discussion about how the seasons differ, and what they like about each season.
  • Encourage your students to compose short stories, poems or songs, or drawings and paintings about the equinox. Share and enjoy their work collectively.
  • Explore different equinox cultural celebrations around the world and choose one to celebrate with your students. Incorporate traditions of the celebration such as clothing, food, decorations, song and dance. Invite parents to participate.
  • If your school hosts a spring tea for families/parents, think about using the equinox as a theme for the event.
Some web resources:
The NAMC teacher curriculum manuals are rich with related activities for all age groups:
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

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