Two weeks ago, the 6-9 students ventured into the WMS woods and imagined what it was like to live as a hunter-gatherer. They were challenged to identify items in nature that they might use for food, shelter, entertainment and more. Using tools from the modern world (iPads!), they documented their anthropological findings through a series of short documentaries.
As part of their focus this year on human innovation, Lower Elementary students have been exploring Maria Montessori's lesson about the fundamental needs of humans - the idea that every culture across time and space has had certain material (food, shelter, water, safety) and spiritual needs (art, music, family, love, play).
Through Montessori's Third Great Lesson, the Coming of Humans, students talked about how humans evolved from hunter-gatherers to farmers to our modern world. Last week, they visited Ashland Nature Center to learn about how the local Lenni Lenape Native American tribe used animals and plants for medicine, food, shelter, and even toys and games. Students compared the information they learned about the Lenape to some of the hypotheses they made in their documentaries.
Complementing their anthropological work in the classroom, the 6-9 students have also been focused on humans and human innovation in specials classes including art, Maker (STEAM) Studio and Spanish.
- In art class with Laurie Muhlbauer, students are learning about their bones, and studying and drawing skeletons.
- In the Maker Studio with Paula Sharpe, they have been working in groups to research different Native American tribes and studying their habitats. Using materials they collected in the WMS woods, they have been constructing model homes in the style of the Cherokee, Iroquois, Ojibwa, Shawnee, Ute and Wampanoag tribes.
- In Spanish class with Ana Brown, students have been learning Spanish vocabulary words for different parts of the human body.
In the weeks ahead, they will explore the development of simple machines and industry, visit the Hagley Museum to learn about early factories, and later learn about modern-day economic systems and international trade.