Thursday, December 27, 2012

Classifying Living and Non-Living

In the months since we've begun to do school formally, I've been working through various methods of review. For history, for instance, since we're currently using Story of the World as a spine, we review the previous chapters' quiz questions, map work, and timeline cards on the same days in which we work through the current ones.

For Latin, we review previous vocabulary words on the same day that I "test" the current ones.

For math, I occasionally put review concepts into the math journal that Willow does once or twice a week for extra math enrichment, and occasionally have either girl drill a previously learned concept on Worksheet Thursday (the most hated math day of the week!).

I also consider every former area of interest still open for further study, and at the library, whenever I come across a living book that explores an old topic, I add it to our stack.

Science is a little trickier to review, for me, because it's so expansive, but since the girls and I are on the cusp of beginning a comprehensive unit on human biology, it seemed reasonable to spend a little time reviewing the order of classification that we first explored at the beginning of our briefer unit on the biology of mollusks.

Therefore, for science a few weeks ago, all we did was review the concept of living vs. non-living.

Willow and I read the requirements for life in the Encyclopedia Britannica, and I wrote them down for her to memorize. Sydney did a simple little living vs. non-living sort that she'd helped me prepare earlier in the day, and as she worked I asked her to verbalize her reasoning, and I put her words in the language of the requirements that Willow was memorizing:
I might have Syd start to memorize them next time.

Successful sort!

Living vs. non-living seems a really simple concept, because you can just look at something and sort it into one of the two, but it actually has a lot of depth, and to understand all of the criteria that makes something living--well, that's some sophisticated scientific reasoning there!

One of the benefits of science review that I'm just starting to discover is this depth that you can get into each time you revisit an old topic. For instance, I'd never want to spend weeks and weeks on the concept of living vs. non-living--I'd go mad!--but each time we briefly revisit the topic we can do another fun explorative activity, perhaps:
Next, we're going to head down the order of classification, spending some time at each level until we get to us humans, where I think we're going to stop and stay a while.

1 comment:

Discovering Montessori said...

I always enjoy doing the living/non-living sorting activity with children. It is surprising sometimes what there different responses may be. With my own children they enjoyed adding in the once living concept and did the work for days. I love how you had them memorize, the video is just awesome!! Thank you for sharing.

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