Within the AMI elementary biology album, there are two levels of classification:
- simple classification - primarily for the lower elementary student as plants and animals are being explored; simple classification based on observable characteristics - essentially "practice sorting" while being able to explain one's choices
- scientific classification - primarily for the upper elementary student. The "traditional Montessori" system utilizes a dichotomous system for Kingdom Vegetalia and a not-so-dichotomous for Kingdom Animalia.
- studying up on others' takes on the Montessori approach, including a prevalent science author with materials available on several Montessori websites. I purchased some of the material to get a feel for it. It doesn't sit well with me - particularly the sections that say, "We'll use those old outdated ways for now until the scientists get all the new naming structures in place." It is all just very complicated. And if you're looking at anything from a faith-based perspective? Well, her intention straight-out in the introduction to the book I own is to get away from humans as stewards of the earth - we are simply part of the earth (she's puts the words "an important part" in parentheses perhaps to downplay the anti-stewardship statement she'd just made?). Sorry - the whole attitude rubs me entirely wrong.
- studying up on more recent scientific classification methods, without the Montessori component. Yep, up in the air. At least the above-mentioned author is right on that one. So whatever I create now to "match" will be in-progress anyway, needing updates sooner and often.
- There are so many varieties of classification.
- the fact is that evolutionary-based classifications, which can only be based on current hypothesis (which change as the times change) are simply not appropriate to provide to young children. We want to give them the unchanging facts first - then with that solid foundation we can build upwards into the unknown or unclear areas.
- And some kids won't care - so let's give them the foundation they need for a solid education and let them be, without over-complicating the matter.
- Convincing myself that the Montessori materials for scientific classification are outdated - is spinning me around in circles. The only clear path is to accept the materials as they are, present these to the children.....
- and leave "The Tree of Life" and other materials for adolescence, where they belong; NOT in elementary.
UPDATE 10/15/2013: Progress is being made! I hope to have a download available for purchase at Garden of Francis and Keys of the Universe very soon. Keys of the Universe discussion community participants will access it for free ;)