Thursday, December 27, 2012

Montessori Geography Lessons: Studying the North Pole at Christmas

NAMC montessori geography lessons studying the north pole
Here Finding the North Pole on the Montessori Colored Globe.
Christmas is an exciting time in the Montessori classroom. The closer it gets to December 25, the more excited the children get. Normalized classroom? No way! The savvy Montessori teacher knows how to use the Montessori curriculum to control the excess energy while keeping spirits bright.

Christmas Geography

Most children, even those who do not celebrate Christmas, can tell you that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole. But where is the North Pole and what is it like? Students can use a globe to locate the North Pole. It is easy to understand what the North Pole is because it is the point in the Northern Hemisphere where the Earth’s axis meets the surface. The globe provides a concrete visual for students.

Montessori Geography Lessons: Studying the North Pole at Christmas

The next thing to explore is on which continent you would find the North Pole. Again, you can use the globe to explore the poles, along with the Montessori Puzzle Maps. Children will realize that the South Pole is located in Antarctica but the North Pole is actually in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. The ice at the North Pole shifts throughout the year and does not belong to any one continent.

Well, that is interesting! So, what does the North Pole look like? This is the perfect time to use some technology in the Montessori classroom. You can pull up pictures of the North Pole from sites like UniverseToday and NationalGeographic. You can even watch a video of a North Pole web cam from 2011. 
All this should spur the children’s interest to do more research. Children can explore who and what lives at the North Pole. (Hint: There aren't any penguins or reindeer!) 

Other topics could include:
  • Traveling to the North Pole
  • North Pole explorers and expeditions
  • The difference between the geographic and magnetic North Pole
  • Global warming
  • Cities named “North Pole”
  • Seasons at the North Pole
  • Climate
  • And of course, Santa Claus – the man, the myth, and the legend

As with any study having to do with beloved figures, it is important to take into consideration the developmental appropriateness of your lessons. The age of the children and their beliefs should be taken into consideration. The Montessori teacher should be prepared for the inevitable question, “But where does Santa live?” While Montessori believed in teaching children the truths of the universe, she also believed in preserving the innocence of youth.
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 Thursday, December 27, 2012.


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