|Even the youngest Montessori child is fascinated by nesting dolls.|
Matryoshka dolls are a beautiful piece of artwork and display of craftsmanship to add to the Montessori classroom. Children of all ages are fascinated by how the tiny dolls are hidden within the largest doll. As children open and close the dolls, they are developing their fine motor skills. As they grow older, children can compare, sequence, and classify the dolls using a variety of vocabulary: tall, taller, tallest; short, shorter, shortest; small, medium, large; etc. You can also use the dolls as sensorial objects for storytelling, as well as exploring history and cultural geography.
Upper Elementary Montessori Zoology: Presenting Taxonomy with Matryoshka Dolls
|Matryoshka, or Nesting Dolls|
Using a set of ten nesting dolls, place the complete nested set in on a mat in front of the students. Begin your story by telling the students that this largest doll represents the entire Kingdom Animalia. Using the class pet, tell the students that as you work through the kingdom, you will meet all the groups the pet belongs to.
Remove the next doll and explain that this doll represents the Division Chordata – it has a notochord. The next doll represents the Phylum Vertebrata, where the notochord turns into bone. Continue removing the dolls and labeling them until you get to the name of the class pet. This is the taxonomy of Herbert the Guinea Pig:
- Kingdom: Animalia (Multicellular, eukaryotic, lack cell walls, motile at some stage.)
- Division: Chordata (Notochord, dorsal nerve chord, postanal tail some point during development.)
- Phylum: Vertebrata (Notochord turns into bone as adults.)
- Class: Mammalia (Hairy bodies, suckle their young.)
- Order: Rodentia (Gnawing incisor teeth-grow continuously.)
- Family: Caviidae (Tailless South American rodent, four digits on front feet and three digits on hind feet.)
- Genus: Cavia (Latin, probably from the Portuguese for rat.)
- Species: Cavia porcellus (Porcellus from the Latin porcus, meaning hog or swine.)
- Breed: short-haired
- Name: Herbert