On Monday, February 1st, our elementary classes will be given the second Great Lesson virtually from The Lyceum. The series of five great lessons are the stories of existence: of the earth and the things that live on it. Here is a summary of each:
The First Great Lesson: The Coming of the Universe. Students stand in a darkened room, passing ice packs from hand to hand. “In the beginning, there was nothing.” Out of the vast darkness suddenly a match is struck and a balloon filled with sparkles is pricked. This simulates the big bang and for the next three hours, children hear their teacher narrate the tale from the time of nothing to the cyanobacteria. The physical laws of the universe are explored with scientific demonstrations meant to drive home concepts like gavity, density and the laws of attraction.
The Second Great Lesson: The Coming of Life. This tale dips back into the jellylike algae and moves the story forward to the arrival of humankind. At Orchard, we use the 100 foot black strip that Montessori devised as a humility exercise in which we realize that humankind only arrived in the last moments in the clock of eras which counts down time from the Big Bang to the arrival of humans.
The Fourth Great Lesson: The Story of Language. Language and its symbols are traced from cave paintings onward.
The Fifth Great Lesson: The Story of Numbers Humans have used numbers and quantities to give meaning and transference to values of things.
Upper Elementary: The Nation of the Great River. In this beautiful narrative, we trace the human body as a river connecting our vital organs, each of which has a job to do just like cities and factories do. This extensive project has a built river model. like. Each story is t its teller.