Geography Functional Chapter 1 Experiment 11 Formation of Mountains by Folding

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  • Experiment 11: six firm strips of different colored fabric (felt), 1 foot by 2 1/2 feet (or 8 x 12 inches)


  • Teacher should have conducted the First Great Lesson: God Who Has No Hands/The Universe Story before beginning these experiments.
  • Chapter 1 of Functional Geography is Formation of the Earth and includes Impressionistic Charts 1-6
  • Functional geography curriculum focuses on a presentation of the world in terms of the active and functioning processes affecting the earth as a planet in the sun's family. Geography examines the social and cultural contexts of the world while functional geography explores the geological and astronomical contexts of the earth in the universe.
  • When we teach functional geography to the child, we are both performing and recording with words and pictures the forces affecting our planet earth.
  • Functional Geography is presented to the child as an experiment which isolates a concept and then an impressionistic chart which makes a visual impression.


Experiment 11 is part of the MOVEMENT IN THE LITHOSPHERE experiments: Of all the parts of the solid earth, the one we know most about is the lithosphere. It is the part that has greatly changed through time. During the cooling process and also because of the corrosive work of water, the earth's crust corrugated; the oceans and lakes were formed, etc. The earth is still changing. This changing process is slower than before because the earth is not barren as it was before. We are not aware of these transformations because man's life span in comparison to the age of the earth is minimal. An example to us: the mountains seem eternal, whereas in relation to the age of the earth, mountains are something which appear and disappear with time. (For example, there are some mountain chains which are growing between India and China and between Yugoslavia and Greece, and in the ocean.)

    The earth's surface is not still. It is constantly in motion. If the surface rises, the mountains rise. However, the mountains also suffer because of the work of erosion. If the surface is depressed, a sediment depression is formed, and in time these depressions are filled in by the erosive work of water and wind. The matter in these depressed regions accumulates with time.

Experiment 11: In the process of formation of mountains as illustrated in this experience, the strata rise unevenly. The sliding of continental masses which formed mountains, also very strong pressures which caused mountains to rise is demonstrated.

  • 1. Stack the strips of material on top of each other. The laying out of the material must be done with care because the strata which result must be visible.
  • 2. Press your hands on the 2 ends of the strata of cloth, push from both sides towards the center.
  • 3. Hold one side of the new formation firm and with the other hand, push the strips closer to the center.

Record your observation:

Statement: (One way mountains have been formed is by folding. Strata rise unevenly. Horizontal colors represent ten horizontal stratifications of the earth. The fracture of earth's strata is caused by pressure. This fracture is called a fault.)

  • An extension to this lesson involves parallelepiped prisms- To be added at another time



Control Of Error

Points Of Interest

The classified nomenclature is usually presented before the impressionistic charts and after the experiments, but can also be parallel to the charts. Since the classified nomenclature can be very long, it is not necessary to present all of the classified nomenclature before beginning the charts.


  • The Montessori methodology first gives the concept of the formation of the earth through experiments. These experiments are the key to giving the child the concrete verification that the universe is not a static universe, but one in which elements are in motion.


  • Usually, the teacher presents the experiment first, and the the child does it independently using the direction card for directions. With the older children, the experiments are presented in a more scientific way.