Geography, the study of our home, the Earth, opens the door to the elementary curriculum. It sets the stage for the unfolding of Earth’s story, from its inception to its present state. We begin with the story of “The Creation of the Universe” to give a vision of the whole. Then we move to more detailed studies of Earth and its place in the universe. Geography is thus fully integrated with the physical sciences. In fact, as the children learn about the Earth and its place in the universe, they form an intellectual framework for all their studies. From the non-living world to the succession of life forms, to human beings and the development of their unique abilities, children study all the sciences and humanities in relation to one another. In the study of history and geography, we inspire the children to explore. Maria Montessori called her course of studies for elementary children “cosmic education.” There are two principles involved in this concept. First, we always begin with a study of “the whole,” which gives the children a unique vision and a holistic foundation for their education. Second, we emphasize that each part of the cosmos is related and contributes to the whole. As the children study geography and other subjects, they become interested not merely in the world and how it functions, but in their individual roles and what part they might play in the continuing story of humanity. After geography lessons, the children’s questions are greeted with enthusiasm. They lead to conversation, experiments, and reading. Research and reports may follow. In this way the children’s interest and understanding develop. They actively engage in the study of the sciences, using the resources available within the classroom, around the school environment, and in the community. For example, “the age of volcanoes” section of the creation story often leads to a study of extinct volcanoes and the “Ring of Fire,” or it could lead to the study of the rock cycle. Children may initiate further studies beyond the classroom, such as a visit to a natural science museum or an interview with a geology professor. The older children may also plan field studies away from home that support their explorations of study.


Physical Science


  • Space exploration


  • Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation matter and energy
    • Potential and kinetic energy
    • Simple machines
  • Gravity and motion
  • Light
  • Heat
  • Sound
  • Electricity and magnetism


  • States of matter
  • Elements and the Periodic Table
  • Atomic and molecular structures

Earth Science

  • Relationship of the earth and the sun
    • Rotation and revolution of the earth and their effects
    • Radiant energy
    • Solstices, equinoxes, and seasons
  • Composition of the earth
    • Layers of the earth
    • Minerals and gemstones
    • The rock cycle
    • Plate tectonics and continental drift
    • Mountain formation, volcanoes, and earthquakes
    • Rock layers and the fossil record
  • The atmosphere and its work
    • Local and global winds and their effects
    • Concepts of weather: cloud formation, precipitation, air mass, fronts, storms
    • Climate zones
  • The hydrosphere and its work
    • Rivers, lakes, and oceans
    • Glaciers
    • Water erosion
    • Caves

Cartography and Reference Materials

  • Globe studies (hemispheres, latitude & longitude, time zones)
  • Map studies (directions, scale, symbols)
  • Map-making (kinds of maps, different world-map projections)
  • Atlases and almanacs

Physical and Political Geography

  • Land and water forms of the continents
  • Research on particular countries
  • Cultural studies
  • Detailed study of North America
  • Regional studies of the United States of America
  • Florida geography

Economic Geography

  • Natural resources and their distribution
  • Production and consumption of goods
  • Global trade and interdependence
  • Banking and currency exchange

Texas Geography

  • Regions
  • Ecology
  • Cities


Ocean Topography

  • Hands-on activities on this theme

Use of the scientific method through experimentation