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Social Sciences Lesson Descriptions

Sandpaper Globe

sandpaper globe.JPG

Age: 3 years and up

Materials: land and water globe, land is rough with sandpaper and blue is smooth

Purpose: to introduce the idea that the Earth is divided into land and water with air that surrounds the Earth and to introduce Earth’s shape; sphere


  1. carefully carry globe to table (one hand on top and one on base)

  2. “I am going to show you a globe that represents our Earth.”

  3. “Our globe is made of elements that you know.”

  4. allow child to feel the globe

  5. “Where do you think the land is?” 

  6. “Where do you think the water is?

  7. “Do you think there is more water or land? Our Earth has more water.”

  8. “Where do you think the air is?”

    1. explain that the air is all around

  9. put materials away

Continent Globe 

continent globe.JPG

Age: 3 years and up

Materials: land and water globe, continent globe with blue representing water and each continent a different color

Purpose: to make the connection between the land and water globe and the continent globe, to introduce continents and oceans


  1. place each globe on a table

  2. point to land and water globe and review land, air and water

  3. “This globe has two colors for land and water.”

  4. show child the continent globe

    1. “This is the continent globe.”

  5. “Do you see any similarities between the two globes?”

  6. point out continents to the child

  7. “Do you see any differences?” (color)

  8. “When we have a large piece of land we have a continent.”

  9. “Orange represents North America and that is the continent that we live on.”

  10. “How many continents are there on the globe?” (seven)

  11. “Earth is also made up of water. Large bodies of water are called oceans.”

  12. “We have four oceans and seven continents.”

World Map


Age: 3 years and up

Materials: continent globe, puzzle map of the world, control map and rug

Purpose: to connect a globe to a 2D map, to introduce the names of the continents 


  1. bring map and globe to a floor rug

  2. “This map is the same as the globe, just flat.”

  3. “Now we see the hemispheres.”

  4. have child compare continent globe to map continents

  5. take out continents and trace them with two fingers 

  6. place piece on the rug

  7. trace map where continent came from using two fingers

  8. put piece back on map

*no language is necessary, just exploring map*

10. repeat with all continents

-Another Day

  1. name all continents and place on control map

    1. do both Antarctica and Asia pieces at same time using two hands

    2. can stop at three continents and do a three-period lesson

  2. have child place back on puzzle when continents are named

Air, Land, and Water

air land and water.JPG

Age: 3 years and up

Materials: three small empty bottles with removable lids, color codes on jars and colored labels saying air, land and water

Purpose: to introduce the idea that the Earth is divided into land, air and water, to introduce geography


  1. bring materials to a table

  2. explain that Earth is made up of three elements

  3. “One element is water”-take child outside to collect water in the bottle

  4. place bottle on the table

  5. “Another element is land”-collect dirt from outside

  6. place bottle on the table

  7. “Last element is air”-blow into bottle and quickly close the bottle

  8. place bottle on the table

  9. explain the three elements

  10. read labels and child matches the labels to the bottle

  11. put materials away

Continent Study

continent study1.JPG

Age: 3 years and up

Materials: collection of objects;  artifacts, small books, postcards, photos, clothing, animals, etc. native to each continent, could have story about objects or labels 

Purpose: to increase the child’s familiarity with the culture from each continent


  1. child takes basket to rug or table and explores the item

  2. teacher can tell a story of one or two items

  3. “These are items that represent (continent).”

The Solar System

solar system.JPG

Age: 4 years and up

Materials: 3-D model of each planet with a number, labels with name of planet and number and black cloth

Purpose: to introduce the child to the Solar System as a group, to teach the names and order of the planets


  1. lay cloth on floor

  2. “Earth is part of a big family called the Solar System. The Solar System is made up of eight planets, one is Earth. Each planet has a fixed orbit around a special star called the sun.”

  3. place the sun on the edge of the cloth

  4. “The sun is the center and the planets move on a path around the sun”

  5. “Earth is the planet that we live on.”

  6. place Earth on the cloth

    1. “There are two planets closer to the sun than Earth.”

  7. “The planet closest to the sun is Mercury.”

    1. lay planet on the cloth

  8. continue with Venus

  9. continue with Earth and place on the cloth, explain that we are the perfect distance from the sun

  10. continue with the rest of the planets in the correct order

    1. can stop when you get to Earth and continue on another day

  11. read labels to child so child can place next to planets

  12. put materials away

Living and Non-Living Nature Walk


Age: 2 years and up

Materials: two bags, one marked “living” and the other marked “non-living”

Purpose: to introduce characteristics of living plants and animals 


  1. take a walk bringing the two bags

  2. look for things that are living and not living

  3. place a few living and non-living items into the corresponding bags

  4. living things-explain we cannot take birds but take something that represents the bird like sticks, leaves, bug shells, plants, flowers, seeds, acorns, keep bugs in nature, also explain that things were once living 

  5. explore bags once the walk is over 



Age: 3 and up
Materials: circular chart with matching labels

Purpose: to note the sequence in the passage of time with an emphasis on the cyclical pattern


  1. bring materials to a table

  2. using the chart explain the four seasons in a year: spring, summer, fall and winter

  3. match the color-coded labels to the seasons while noting the seasons

  4. discuss the characteristics of each season including the changes that occur and reinforce with stories or poems

  5. child can check work by using the control dots on the back of each picture

  6. put materials away

The Montessori Clock


Age: 4 ½  and up

Materials: the clock, moveable hands and loose numerals in a box, a series of cards, set of corresponding labels and stand 

Purpose: to help the child tell time


Building the Clock (Hours)

  1. take the clock to a floor rug or table mat

  2. place numbers on mat at random 

  3. put numbers in order starting with one on the mat

  4. pick up the number twelve and place it correctly on the clock

  5. continue to place the numbers correctly on the clock- allow the child to continue if they want to 

  6. describe the hour (long) and minute (short) hand to the child

  7. “When the long hand is on the twelve and the short hand is pointing to the one then it is exactly one o’clock”

  8. continue by moving the shorthand to a different number-describe this as one o’clock

    1. only move the shorthand in this presentation

  9. explain you will talk more about the numbers another day and put the work away


                                                                              Half Hours

Materials: the clock, moveable hands and loose numerals in a box, a series of cards, set of corresponding labels and stand 


  1. take materials to floor rug or table mat

  2. introduce the concept of fractional time by cutting a circle the size of the face of the clock in half

  3.  explain that sometimes time is measured by the fraction of an hour

  4. show the fraction halves saying that an hour can be split into two parts and that each part is called an half hour

    1. for example: when the little hand is on the twelve and big hand is on the six we say it is half past twelve


                                                                Quarter Hours


*same as Half Hours explaining what the three, six, nine and twelve represent on the clock*


                                                                             Five Minutes

Materials: the clock, moveable hands and loose numerals in a box, a series of cards, set of corresponding labels and stand, twelve five bead stairs


  1. take materials to a table mat or floor rug

  2. lay the clock flat on surface

  3. allow child to place the hour numerals correctly on the clock

  4. begin at twelve and explain that there are five minutes between each red number on this clock

  5. place a five bead bar between each number on the outside of the clock

  6. point to each bar and say, “let’s count the minutes by fives: five, ten, fifteen…”

  7. “we have sixty minutes in an hour”

  8. show that the shorthand only moves a short distance in an hour, from one numeral to the next

  9. explain that the long hand goes all the way around the clock in sixty minutes and review the time now by using both hands on the clock

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