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The Five Great Lessons

The Montessori Five Great Lessons are an integral part of the Montessori Elementary curriculum (Upper and Lower). They are designed to captivate children’s imagination and curiosity and provide a broad overview of the world around them.


At MCH, we put our own spin on the Great Lessons, by having weekly STEM challenges and hands-on projects that accompany each unit. Here is a summary of each lesson:

The First Great Lesson: The Coming of the Universe and Earth: This unit introduces children to the origins of the physical universe, starting from the “Big Bang” theory. It covers topics such as astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, physics, and geology. Children learn about the solar system, stars, galaxies, weather patterns, states of matter, and more. We build and launch rockets, design Mars habitats, and many other fun projects!

The Second Great Lesson: The Coming of Life: This unit explores the development of life on Earth. Children learn about the diversity of life forms, including plants and animals. They study topics such as botany, zoology, ecology, and evolution. The video to the right are cyanobacteria, viewed and recorded by our students with MCH's digital microscope!

The Third Great Lesson: The Coming of Humans: This unit delves into the history of human beings. Children learn about human evolution, ancient civilizations, cultural diversity, and geography. They explore topics such as anthropology, archaeology, history, and geography. The aim is to foster an appreciation for human achievements and promote cultural understanding. Our class practices our Stone Age skills by learning to weave, designing nomadic shelters, and conducting archeological digs in our enormous outdoor sandbox.

The Fourth Great Lesson: The Story of Writing: This lesson focuses on the development of written language and communication systems throughout history. Children explore different writing systems, including cave paintings, cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphics, Greek and Latin letters. They learn about grammar, sentence structure, word study, and storytelling. We make our own "papyrus" or cuneiform and practice ancient writing.

The Fifth Great Lesson: The Story of Numbers: This lesson introduces children to the history of mathematics. They learn about the development of numerals, arithmetic operations, geometry, measurement, patterns, and problem-solving across many ancient cultures. We often use this unit to explore the Fibonacci sequence and its connection to the natural world.

The Montessori Five Great Lessons offer several advantages for children’s education:

  • Integrated, Big Picture Learning: By presenting a broad range of topics in an interconnected story, these meaningful lessons promote deeper understanding and better long-term retention of knowledge. Modern cognitive science research has shown that this approach has major advantages for students.

  • Engagement: The Great Lessons are designed to spark children’s curiosity and engage them in active learning. The use of storytelling techniques and hands-on activities makes learning enjoyable and meaningful.

  • Critical Thinking: Through exploration and inquiry-based learning, children develop critical thinking skills. They learn to ask questions, analyze information, make connections, and draw conclusions.

  • Creativity: The open-ended nature of these lessons encourages creativity and imagination. Children are encouraged to think outside the box and express their ideas through various mediums.

  • History and Cultural Awareness: By exploring different cultures and civilizations, children gain a broader perspective on the world. They develop empathy, respect for others, and an appreciation for our human achievements.

The Montessori Five Great Lessons provide a comprehensive foundation for children’s education by fostering curiosity, critical thinking skills, creativity, cultural awareness, and a love for learning. They are some of our most popular lessons, for a good reason!

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