Out trip to Geological museum.
There many wonderful lessons and presentations in our Montessori environment, but some are more special – today we shared had one of those with our students. In the morning we decided the peculiarities of the lesson need a special space so we all went to the Geological museum.
The lesson is called “The Black Strip” and comes right after we have had first two Great lessons “The Beginning of the Universe” and “The Coming of Life on the Earth”. Dr. Montessori made this material in response to a discussion she had with a child.
There is long, long strip of black fabric that is slowly unrolled and we marvel at the time the Earth took to form and then how long (or short) the period of humanity on this Earth has been. If interested, you can read more here (https://www.montessoriservices.com/ideas-insights/the-long-black-strip). The original presentation included very impressive 300 meters of black fabric rolled on a wooden dowel, today we give this lesson with 46 m of black fabric.
Following Dr. Montessori’s instructions, two teachers on bicycles position between them a long wooden dowel, upon which is rolled a huge spool of narrow black cloth. Without a word the teachers begin to unroll the black strip of fabric, laying it on the ground, as they slowly ride their bicycles down the street. Montessori and the inquisitive children follow behind and many neighborhood children join the procession, asking, „What is this? What is it for?”
Montessori is very quiet. Perhaps she says “Wait and see.” Perhaps she does not say a word until the end, when the long black strip has been completely unwound and now at the very end there appears a surprise: a narrow strip of white cloth.
Montessori finally speaks: “This little white part represents the entire time that human beings have been on Earth. Compare it to the black strip, which represents the age of Earth.”
The children gaze back down the street where the black strip has disappeared from sight, and then look again at the tiny strip of white in Dr. Montessori’s hand.