Geography extensions for your Montessori Elementary classroom

Geography extensions for your Montessori Elementary classroom

As a public school Montessori teacher I often had children arrive in my classroom who had little experience with Geography or had been 'over exposed' to puzzle maps and were 'bored' with Geography.  By over exposed I mean all they had done with puzzle maps at Preschool was using them purely as puzzles. The names of the countries and features of the continents hadn't been covered and these students weren't all that inspired by Geography.
To make Geography interesting. I used the key lessons and stories that we have in Elementary Montessori as well as 'jazzed up, elementary level' continent boxes.

Another  way I found for refreshing geography was to have a folder with Montessori inspired activities.
You will need:
-- a ring binder
--colored pieces of paper that correlate to the colors of the continents
--activities to stick in folder
-- plastic covers to put maps and activities into.
- At the front of the folder I had general continent activities such as material for making 3 part continent cards. I included a couple of versions such as pictures of continents on the 3 part cards with no captions for students to write in the name of the continent and ones where I had the word written and the children drew the continent.

For each continent
- A colored piece of paper that acts as a divider for students to easily find activities for that continent e.g. behind the 'pink' piece of paper will be activities about South America.
- A map with the names of the countries for students to colour in the map related to the colours of the puzzle map (insert copies into plastic covers for students to pull one out when needed)
- A blank map of the continent with borders of the countries but no names of the countries. Students can use puzzle maps, pin maps or an atlas to help name the countries.   You can download maps for free from here
(Insert copies into plastic covers for students to pull one out when needed)- Open ended research or mapping projects. I have an continent activity extension  pack HERE that includes these:
  • History template
  • Animals of the continent
  • Climate
  • A quick facts page
  • Mapping of rivers
  • Mapping of Mountains
  • Mapping of Physical Features
  • My itinerary - the child plans a trip around the continent.

As part of the Montessori ethos of helping children develop responsibility for themselves and for their community when the children got to the last 'copy' they would go and photocopy some more.

Additionally, there were usually a couple of children who liked to check the folder w was ordered.
How do you extend geography learning in your class?
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