The Montessori science curriculum begins with Living and Nonliving, and children learn to categorize living things into plant and animal life.
Animal life is taught first and further categorized into 6 major classifications of animals: insects, reptiles, mammals, birds, fish, and amphibians.
In March, we taught about Insects because many kinds of insects fly through our yard, including ladybugs, beetles, butterflies, grasshoppers, crickets, and dragonflies.
Children began by learning the names of different parts of an insect using concrete examples, such as large models of commonly known insects. This enabled children to count the legs and visually see the parts of an insect, including the main parts of the insect’s body – the head, thorax, abdomen, antennae, and legs.
Our children then graduate to card material, where they are challenged to identify and assemble the parts of the insect in order. A set of illustrated cards with the corresponding names of the body parts enables the child to read and place the correct label beside the illustration.
Other activities include examining samples of real insects through a magnifying glass.
Insects @ Home
This upcoming weekend, take your child outdoors for a walk – in your backyard, the neighborhood park, or beautiful Hermann Park in downtown Houston. Let your child discover the beautiful butterflies, dragonflies and lady bugs around us. Read books on the life cycles of these insects. Catching and then releasing an active grasshopper can be exciting too.
Make your children aware that insects are an important part of our ecological system – and they are helpful and a necessary part of our natural world.