The "poking work" is easily a class favorite this year. I have all of the continents traced on to corresponding card stock. The children choose a continent, a piece of felt or cork, and a "poker"- this could be a large push pin or any other device with a fine point. These items are placed on a tray and brought to a table. The child pokes out the shape of the continent and pulls the completed shape out of the paper. We do not use scissors for several reasons. The poking aspect significantly strengthens the fine motor skills needed for writing. This activity also is a lesson in focus and concentration. After many hours, or even years, of continent poking exercises, the child has a concrete image of every continent etched in their brain for life! If children were to use a scissor, the small angles of a continent would most likely be cut off and an inaccurate representation would be left. After poking all seven continents, the children create their very own Map of the World. The children trace both hemispheres onto a large piece of paper and paint them blue to represent the oceans. After waiting a full day (the hardest part of the activity), the child can then glue on all of the continents. Some children choose to label the continents, but others like the look of just the land and water. Eventually, the third year students start to create maps of Australia, South America, and I have even seen one child accurately poke out and label every country in Africa.
In her book, To Educate the Human Potential, Maria Montessori said, “If the area of the universe be presented to the child in the right way, it will do more for him than just arouse his interest, for it will create in him admiration and wonder, a feeling loftier than an interest and more satisfying. The knowledge then acquired is organized and systematic. His intelligence becomes whole and complete because the vision of the whole that has been presented to him, and his interest spreads to all, for all are linked and have their place in the universe on which his mind is centered. . . No matter what we touch, an atom, or a cell, we cannot explain it without knowledge of the wide universe.”
HM and NC poking the continents.
LD completing his Map of the World