Geography Functional Chapter 1 Experiment 1 Force of Attraction

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  • a shaker of pepper or paper made confetti
  • a glass bowl


  • 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.



Teacher: "Do you remember the story of 'God Who Has No Hands'? In the beginning there was infinite darkness, and in this darkness there were millions of tiny particles. Many of these particles were attracted one to the other and they formed the galaxies-which seem to us like huge masses of light. Then some of these particles attracted more particles and they got together and formed the stars."

EXPERIMENT 1: Forces of Attraction "Now, let's see if this pepper behaves as the gas and dust particles did in forming stars. Put the pepper in a bowl of water. If you wait, the sprinkles of pepper will join. Put the sprinkles away from the sides of the bowl-or it will attract them. The forces of attraction between the sprinkles of pepper is called cohesion."

Record you observation:

Statement: (The pepper granules are attracted to each other. This helps to understand how gas and dust particles were attracted to each other in space to form stars.)

Teacher: "If we watch the sky on a clear night, we will see the luminous streak: The Milky Way. It is formed of millions of stars and our own Solar System. The Milky Way has a spiral shape. Groups of stars like the Milky Way are called galaxies. There are many galaxies in the universe. The Milky Way is a vast system of stars 100,000 light years across and containing 200 billion stars. Everything revolves around the galaxy's center."



Teacher: "The sun is the center of our solar system. It is a star which sends light and heat to the earth and makes life on Earth possible. We start exploring the solar system by studying the sun. How small is the planet on which we live! This is a small chart which represents a large thing. This is the sun, with is solar corona or crown of flames. Even if we made a chart which would cover this entire wall, we could not really picture the size of the sun and the solar prominences. Now, let's look for the earth It is this tiny dot here. All of live on this tiny dot. However, it should not be this close to the sun. this chart can only give us an idea of the sun and our earth and the fact that our earth is much, much smaller than the sun. The diameter of the sun is 109 times longer than that of the earth. The prominences of glowing gas, in reality, protrude very little from the sun in proportion. yet, small as they are some prominences are sixty times greater than the diameter of the earth."

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.