Since this is our last summer of homeschooling, I decided to go out with a BIG BANG [*wink wink*] — a Great Lessons Summer Camp! I put together 9 weeks of summer fun studying the 5 Montessori Great Lessons, and we’re loving it so far. I didn’t make any of these materials myself — just curated the contents from multiple sources I’ve found — and I’m sharing the whole camp plans and where to find the resources we’re using this summer.
A note: Montessori Great Lessons are not usually completed in just 9 weeks — they usually take the whole school year, and then are repeated with a different focus each year after that in the 3-year elementary cycle. This is a condensed “summer camp” version, going in depth on just the things we haven’t really studied before, and open to expansion in later years or throughout the regular school year if the girls are interested.
Before I show you everything we’re doing for the First Great Lesson, here are some videos I made about how I planned the whole thing and a peek ahead:
I broke each Great Lesson down into one group lesson each day, associated shelf work that can be chosen freely, and featured books that go along with the theme. I printed out our materials 3 times so we could each have our own 3-ring binder to keep our summer camp work in!
The First Great Lesson is the Creation of the Universe. On the first day, I told the story of the Creation of the Universe using this Great Lessons Pack. The girls used a couple of pages from the pack to record their responses to it, then they were free to choose shelf work. On the following days, we read more books, did some experiments related to the story, and compared Creation stories from other cultures. Here’s a quick outline of each day’s group lesson:
- Day 1: Tell the First Great Lesson Story, respond
- Day 2: Read Born with a Bang, learn about the solar system
- Day 3: Solids/Liquids/Gases Scavenger hunt, experiment #4/5 from pack about liquids
- Day 4: Heating & Cooling experiments #6 & 7 from pack
- Day 5: Heating experiment #9 from pack
- Day 6: Sink/Float experiment
- Day 7: Field Trip to a local Science Museum, watch planetarium show
- Day 8: Volcanic eruptions experiment #13 from pack
- Day 9: Read 3 Creation stories — Quat the Creator, Phan Ku the Creator, Imir the Creator
- Day 10: Read 3 Creation stories — Quiche part 1, God Ra the Creator, Sedi and Melo the Creators
- Day 11: Read 3 Creation stories — Elohim the Creator, Maori creation story, Iroquois creation story
- Day 12: Write own Creation story
After each group lesson, the girls were free to choose work from the shelves. We kept much of our usual work out, and added a few items to go along with the First Great Lesson:
- Water pouring into different sized containers
- Land and Water Form Cards with Playdoh
- Oceans 3-Part Cards
- Planet Ordering Work
- Space Nomenclature Cards
- Hubble Telescope Puzzles
- Constellation Building
- Continents Globe
- Rock Digging
- Rock Scrubbing
- Rock Identifying
These are the books we’ve been using with the First Great Lesson:
- Born with a Bang, by Jennifer Morgan
- The Usborne Big Book of Stars and Planets
- The Four Corners of the Sky, by Steve Zeitlin
- In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World, by Virginia Hamilton [If you only get one Creation Story book, make it this one.]
We’re having so much fun in our Great Lessons Summer Camp! Stay tuned for Great Lesson #2, or follow along in real time on Instagram!
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