Our Solar SystemPart 1: Montessori Curriculum Arts and a Freebie!


This is Part One of my Montessori Curriculum series, "Our Solar System thru The Arts." This article includes:
 1) "The Model vs Real" Montessori-style Lesson 
 2) How I use "The Planets Song" to introduce the children to Our Solar System
 3) Classical music activities that feature Our Solar System
 4) Information about my TpT Activity Packet: "Solar System thru The Arts Vol. 1" 
 5) Freebie Resource: "Model vs Real Lesson & Category Cards"

In this article, I've assembled some of the very favorites of my Montessori groups featuring an all-time favorite topic: Our Solar System.

As always, the Montessori approach begins with hands-on experiences before moving into more abstract concepts. Even though Our Solar System is a very real concept, it can be a challenging idea to present to young children. 

Model vs Real Lesson
Dr. Montessori understood that children in their early years of development are exploring what is real and not real. That is why the curriculum in the Montessori early environment focuses on real objects & experiences of everyday life. As the child begins to construct the world outside the home and family, s/he is gradually offered a broader range of concepts to explore. Even so, these more complex and far-reaching ideas are presented with as much hands-on experiences as possible for the child. 

I love presenting the "Model vs Real Lesson" to the children before presenting some of the more expansive topics in my Montessori-based early childhood curriculum that is implemented each year.

  1. Gather the children and invite them to the Lesson.
  2. Ask children to help you set up two work rugs in the middle of the group.
  3. Make 2 labels with large post-it notes. Show the children by writing the word "real" on one, and then the word "model" on the other, as you read each word out loud. 
  4. Place a label on each rug.
  5. Go and fetch a small potted plant from one of the shelves in the environment and carefully place it on the rug with the label that says "real." Point to the label and say the word, "real"  as you point to the plant on the rug. Say: "This plant is real." 
  6. Fetch a medium or large-size plastic or wooden model of an animal from one of the baskets on the shelves in the room. (ex: cat, dog...or even a tiger or elephant) 
  7. Stand between the two work rugs and ponder which rug the animal model should be placed upon. 
  8. Ask the children: "Do you think this is a real cat?" (The children will answer "No!") 
  9. Then say: "This is not a real cat. This is a 'model' of a cat."
  10. Point to the label that says "model" and then point to the animal model, while you place the plastic animal on the rug with the label that reads "model."
  11. Proceed to gather objects in the room and place them on the appropriate rug. It is fun to invite various children to fetch objects to place on one of the rugs. The most fun part of the lesson is when I go and sit on the "real" rug myself and I say: "I am not a 'model' of a person. I am a 'real' person."
  12. Later, you can explore spontaneously making "real" and "model" labels on sticky notes to place on objects around the environment. 
This "Model vs Real" Activity is the foundational lesson for presenting many of the future lessons that are typical in the Montessori curriculum. For example, when presenting the globes to the children, it is more successful when the children have a beginning understanding of real vs models. I refer back to this lesson often during the school year, and the children ask for it again and again! 

When working with young children, we discover that singing about a concept is just about the best way to present it!

Montessori teachers (and actually just about all preschool educators) have songs for every imaginable topic for learning. 

My groups have greatly enjoyed a simple little song that names the planets of Our Solar System.

Some time after our "Model vs Real Lesson," I introduce Our Solar System by bringing out the Solar System model and then singing "The Planets Song" as I point to each one. The children quickly learn the words to the song with its catchy tune. In the song, the planets are sung in their order out from the Sun and so the children not only learn the planet names but their correct order as well.

You can access my Mp3 song download of "The Planets Song" in my newest TpT Activity Packet, "Montessori Curriculum: Solar System thru The Arts Vol. 1." This packet is chock-full of fun, arty, and musical activities, including the Printables for making a Classroom "Planets Song Book" for your children's book corner.

CLICK HERE to see this at my TpT Store. ($4.)
But WAIT...before you purchase this can have my BUNDLE with all three of my "Solar System thru The Arts" FOR FREE WHEN YOU ENROLL IN MY eCOURSE at Trillium Montessori Courses. 
See the details at the end of this post!  

MUSIC: Focused Listening
Gustav Holst created a symphony based on the planets! You can offer many activities to the children using this wonderful classical music.
This music is available at iTunes and Amazon.

Each of the 7 pieces from this symphonic suite are named for the planets (Earth is not included)

You can create a Focused Listening Activity featuring the Instrument families of the Orchestra.
1. "Mercury, The Winged Messenger" is wonderful for the Woodwind Family as well as actually featuring the Glockenspiel, Celesta, and bells from the Percussion Family.
2. "Venus, The Bringer of Peace" is another great selection for the Woodwind Family as well as some beautiful parts that feature the String Family. You will also hear the Celesta (bell-like keyboard) that can be related to the Percussion Family.
3. "Mars, The Bringer of War" definitely brings out the best of the Percussion with its constant drumming in the background. There is also a lot of loud playing from the Brass Family. (this selection is a bit on the intense side and may be too much for your group is they are on the younger side.)
4. "Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity" is a wonderful and upbeat piece for emphasizing the Brass Family and some joyful sounds of bells (Glockenspiel) and even rhythm sticks, maracas, and tambourines.
5. "Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age" features the String Family and has an underlying beat that reminds us of the clock slowly ticking. The Woodwind instruments are wonderful in this piece, as well.
6. "Uranus, The Magician" features not only lots of Brass instruments (including the Tuba), but you will also hear the wooden Xylophone along with rhythm sticks, drums, and even the tambourine, all from the Percussion Family.
7. "Neptune, the Mystic" has lots of sweet sounds from the Woodwind Family along with tinkling bells and lovely Celesta/piano as well. The Women's Chorus is a haunting vocal part and lends itself to older children dramatically singing along.

There are actually three volumes of this series from my Montessori Curriculum Arts Packets.

If you purchase the BUNDLE, you can save $2. Fifty-five pages of Printables, Activities, and Mp3 music downloads. All three volumes for $10.  
If you enroll in my Musically Montessori eCourse, "First Twelve Weeks" at Trillium Montessori eCourses, you get this BUNDLE for FREE!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COURSE and redeem your freebie from me.

Please don't miss my newest Subscribers FREE Resource that goes along with these Solar System Activities in this article! 

"Real vs Model Lesson"

JUST ADDED TO MY FREEBIE COLLECTION! You can access it at any time if you are one of my Newsletter Subscribers. Not a subscriber yet? It's easy to sign up right here on the sidebar of this Blog. You'll be receiving my Newsletters with announcements of my newest products, eCourses and any special sales I am having. Subscribers also have access to my 30+ Free Resources and periodic exclusive discount codes. 


Thank you again for visiting my Blog today. I am always happy to have you here and I hope that you and your group have lots of fun with these activities! 

Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home