Monday, September 29, 2014

Our Geography Corner

What Are Continent Boxes?

Our Montessori-inspired Geography shelf is all set up.  It's amazing how much learning can be packed into such a small area.  To explore geography, we are using Montessori continent boxes and the Little Passports program.  Who doesn't love to open a little box? I know LionHeart does and it's packed with so many activities.  Continent boxes allow you to make geography a hands-on learning experience.  You can include maps, postcards, photographs - anything that will spark learning.  Once the learning is sparked, we visit the library for books, find videos on Netflix, listen to music or make food from the continent.  You can even do hands on projects to explore the physical features of geography.  We are definitely going to incorporate this graham cracker/yogurt idea for studying landforms.  Click here for details.  I dedicated an entire shelf to Africa.  I found the basket at a thrift store and purchased the miniature drum from a local art gallery that is going out of business for 50% off.  The continent boxes give us a reason to collect objects of meaning from around the world.

What Goes Inside of a Continent Box?

Recently, while attending the annual Panafest, I purchased a miniature Buddha statute.  I can see this object sparking so much conversation about religion and ultimately geography.

 I picked up this item from an art gallery closeout.  This is a rendering of the Kariang of Northern Thailand.  Can you see where we can go with this? After identifying Thailand on the map, here's something LionHeart can hold in his hand as we explore the music, food and culture of the Kariang, also called Nyang, people of Northern Thailand.  It will also be placed in our Asia box.  Click here for ideas on how to fill your continent boxes with learning. 

Inside of our Africa continent box is a 3-part nomenclature card that has as image of the continent and the spelling of the name.  Manipulating these objects helps with the child's ability to identify the continent and correctly spell the name of the continent. Also, inside of the Africa box is a miniature mask from Ghana and a hand-made card from Swaziland.  I also plan to add these maps from Montessori Print Shop.  When we study the continent, we'll visit the places where the objects originate from first because a connection has already been made.

Setting Up Your Continent Boxes 

 A good friend and fellow Montessori trained homeschool mom gave me this idea for the Continent Boxes. I purchased the containers came from Family Dollar for $2 each.  Those beautiful labels are courtesy of the Dollar Tree.  They're actually window clings that I glued onto the container with clear Elmer's glue.  Continent boxes can be created in a multitude of ways.  You can use baskets, folders, or anything that allows you to store items from to the continent you plan to study.  Click here at Living Montessori Now for more continent study ideas.

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