Coming of life – Second Great Lesson Montessori

The Second Lesson covers the history of life on Earth – from bacterias to coming of humans.

This time I also adapted the version to our needs, introducing more extra activities. I based my story again on the one provided at MissBarbara page. The original one, where Sun, Rocks, Water and Air talk to each other sounds very nice but I’m not good at storytelling (I prefer presentations). I also wasn’t sure about personifying this powers during our study time. Especially that N is this kind of person who would immediately tell me that Sun doesn’t speak since it’s a star ;-)

I was confused whether the lesson should be told only with the timeline and all the nice figurines and objects would be used as a follow-up or should we incorporate them from the beginning. After experience with our First Lesson I knew the timeline alone would not be enough for my kids and that in order to have their interest I had to provide something more. So I collected everything I had on the subject, printed additional photos and we could start the lesson.

Materials I used:

  • Time of life line from Discovery Moments. Stephanie was so kind to share this amazing file. The original timelines from Montessori stores cost 200$+ and preparing one’s own will take A LOT of time. And I prefered not to risk with preparing mine. Since I’ve actually never learned or seen Great Lessons properly presented, I might have simply prepare it wrong. For our home-ed setting Stephanie’s file worked perfect, was clear enough for me to work on and for children to follow the story.
  • Safari Toobs: Cambrian Life, Prehistoric Life and Prehistoric Sealife – they are one of my favourite learning material so I didn’t think much about buying them to use specifically (but not only) for this lesson. And as it turned out it was a very smart move from my side – these little figurines was what attracted kid’s attention. Although they were playing with them every now and then during the lesson soon I realised that N is still following the story and remembers a lot (ufff… )
  • dinosaurs figures – we have quite a lot of them, most of them are from Schleich (my favourites), but we have also some from Papo (eg. dimetrodon, which was very useful for the presentation) and also some set I bought few years ago which brand I don’t even recall (not as nice as Schleich or Papo but they do the trick). I’m a Schleich-addict and kids always liked dinosaurs, so after few years we have a nice (and still growing) collection. I was actually thinking about buying also the dinosaur toob from Safari to have all figurines for the lesson in one size, but finally I decided not to.
  • fake fossils – we recently received a whole set of fossils made of plaster, sent to us by one lovely Polish blogging mum under our cultural material swap
  • ScienceX Prehistoric Expedition kit by Ravensburger – I used some of the materials provided and other we’re using during follow up activities
  • rocks – coal and a fossil with an ammonite (we have also an ammonite from the Ravensburger pack)
  • photos of bacterias, cyanobacterias, amoeba and paramecium for the beginning of the story

Again I don’t have many photos from during the lesson, but this time I managed to take at least some. The lesson was very long, we had to make a break during it for a snack, but kids did follow with interest. We had to stop every now and then as N was very talkative this time. To my satisfaction she was making a lot of comments to the story and materials, she asked a lot of questions and was trying to figure out a lot of answers by herself.


I gathered all objects (but dinosaurs since they are huge and we actually store them in a separate basket) in a small basket and kept it hidden from children’s eye view during the presentation. They knew I had something and were very anxious whenever I was reaching the basket.

The timeline was waiting on the table when I was talking about the Precambrian time.

When talking about Carboniferous period we made a model of giant dragonfly (Meganeura) from the “Prehistoric Expedition” set. It’s very cool since it’s big and one can even make it’s wings moving. Kids loved making it and later playing with it.

It was also a good moment to make a break, I presented a whole load of information and Rascals were getting a bit tired and distracted. We made the dragonfly, had a snack and then we were ready to continue with the story.

During the break I was able to take few photos of our materials “in action” and tidy a bit the table.

When talking about the Carboniferous period and the formation of coal I showed children a real coal. We have a big rock from Poland in our collection.

A real and a fake fossils of ammonite (we have one more real one)

Figurines from Cambrian toob

The story untill Carboniferous period

As I understood in the original version two dinosaurs cards are presented to children, a comparison of size of brachiosaurus and tyrannosaurus rex with human. I haven’t prepared those card, instead I used pictures from two of our books.

We also made a card-skeleton of a T-rex (from the “Prehistoric Expedition” set).


Here are some useful links for preparing the Second Great Lesson:

You can also visit my Great Lessons pinterest board:

5 thoughts on “Coming of life – Second Great Lesson Montessori

  1. Pingback: 5 kingdoms of life. Montessori | three Little Rascals exploring the world

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