Science is a perfect academic subject for the Montessori elementary school. In order to work properly, science demands critical thinking, attention to detail, and a self-image accepting of experiments that do not go the way we expect yet still produce results that can be studied and tabulated.
Science and the Montessori Method
Instead of relying on frequent repetition and memorization, the Montessori Method encourages a hands-on approach to learning which allows science to combine with language, experiment to merge into mathematics, and biology to take a seat at the dinner table. Reading a chapter concerning the states of matter is great, you can really drive home the lesson when you break out the ice trays and Bunsen burners and demonstrate those states through actions.
Rocks, Birds, and Trees
Every park and patch of ground is an opportunity to delve into science. Examining the differences in rocks, the similarities in birds or the diversity of trees are only the tip of the iceberg when science is allowed to step outside the classroom and into the real world. The underlying lesson can be anything from vocabulary to music so long as children can wrap their hands around the science which makes the lesson come to life.
Cooking and Chemistry
Taking science into the kitchen allows children to explore the similarities between the kitchen and the laboratory. Not only are children shown the importance of precision measurements, but they are also treated to a tasty example of how chemical reactions transform a basic set of ingredients into a menu of dishes.
Gardening and Community
It is one thing to explain how seeds germinate and plants produce edible fruits and vegetables, but it is something else entirely to harvest fresh cherry tomatoes, pick beans from the bush, or include home-grown potatoes or corn in the next family cookout. Unlike other science activities, growing a garden can easily become a community event, and helps children learn important lessons about healthy eating, sharing of excess crops, and working hard to keep the weeds at bay.
Science projects are a great way for students to put their lessons on display, but giving kids a chance to see science in action is a priceless way to instill a love of learning and exploration. Montessori is more concerned with making the tools of discovery available than it is with defining a set science curriculum for everyone.