One of the best ever geography extensions is making a globe. This makes for a great end of year work, as it is a multi-step, multi-day project. Children are ready for this work after building their attention spans, their hand-eye coordination and geography knowledge all year long.
- Paper mache (You can find a simple recipe to make homemade paper mache here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ba2ePeEiF2E)
- The colored globe, for reference
- A balloon for each child interested in making a globe
- Newspaper cut into strips
- Construction paper for the continents – white, orange, pink, red, green, yellow, brown
- Continent shapes from the world puzzle map to trace around
- Pin poking materials to perforate around the traced shapes (You can find pin poking materials here: https://www.montessoriservices.com/wood-handled-puncher You can use thumb tacks for this work, too)
- Blue paint and paintbrush
- Step One
- Make paper mache paste.
- Blow up a round balloon to match the size of the colored globe.
- Demonstrate dipping the strips of paper into the paste, using your fingers to remove excess, and pasting the strip on to the balloon. Continue covering the balloon until it is completely covered.
- Leave the covered balloon (the globe) to dry until the paper and strips feel dry and hard. You can balance the globe on a paper bowl on a shelf while it dries. Air drying the globe may take several days, so plan ahead.
- Invite children to make their own globe shape.
- Step Two
- Demonstrate tracing around each continent shape on the colored construction paper, matching the color of the continent piece to the colored paper.
- Demonstrate pin-poking (some call this paper punching) each continent. Many children will already know how to do this from making two-dimensional maps, and will not require this demonstration.
- Invite children to pin poke the continent shapes. Have a special container for each child’s continent pieces – e.g. labelled ziplock bag, envelope, etc.
- Step Three
- Once the globes are dry, they can be painted blue to represent the ocean. Leave the globes to dry once again.
- Step Four
- With the colored globe available as a guide, demonstrate placing the colored paper continents onto the colored globe to find the correct side of the continent to spread the glue, and then glueing the continent in place on to your painted globe. Some children may need the help of a friend or teacher to accomplish this step.
- Step Five
- Leave the globe to dry once again.
- Further Extensions
- Older students might make a globe showing world biomes. Use white paper for the continent shapes, and color/draw the biomes on each continent piece – forest, desert, grasslands, tundra, grasslands, etc.
- Consider making a globe to show major rivers and mountain ranges, or climate zones, etc.
Here is another favorite geography work – a map of the world made out of felt. You can make just one felt world map to be added to the geography shelf for the children to use.
One of the teachers at the school where I work enlists the help of parent volunteers to make felt world maps for all of the children who are graduating, and they receive their map as a graduation gift during the graduation ceremony. Parents trace and cut out enough pieces for each graduate. Some parents just use scissors, but parents have also cut out large numbers of each shape at one time using a laser cutter.
After practicing laying out the continent pieces on the blue hemispheres, children can be invited to sew the continent pieces onto the blue felt to make a permanent map. For those children who have been introduced to embroidery, they can embroider ‘The World’ and their name using a simple chain stitch. They can also embroider around each hemisphere to make their map even more decorative.
With thanks to Ms. Jane and Ms. Jackie from the Montessori School of Pullman, for sharing these geography ideas, and with thanks to whoever shared these ideas with them! I invite you to share some of your favorite geography extensions, too.