Animal Kingdom Charts (Invertebrates), Alison’s Montessori

Zoology 6-9

8 phylla, 5 examples per phyllum.

This series is the continuation of our study and classification of living organisms. In my previous posts, I described how easy and fascinating studying living organisms was. For these guided lessons, we used Alison’s Montessori materials (see Three Domains post and The Six Kingdoms post), and Montessori Research and Development manual Zoology Volume I, Elementary I.

The complete set (charts and cards)

The sequence we followed was the following:

  • review of the 7 characteristics of living (definitions and lessons in manual)
  • study of the Three Domains Charts (read definitions, show examples, use mute chart)
  • review of vertebrates vs. invertebrates (lesson in manual, materials for Alison’s Montessori)
  • study the Six Kingdoms of Life (charts)
  • comparison of plants vs. animals using the 7 characteristics (description in manual)
  • Introduction of the Animal Kingdom charts (described in this post)
Animal Kingdom – Invertebrates, Alison’s Montessori

The start

I laid out all the materials on a mat, and started reviewing for the third time the 7 characteristics of living organisms (MRS GREF: Movement, Respiration, Sense, Growth, Reproduction, Excretion, Feeding).

Children will study independently using these cards

We read a comparison between plants and animals using these 7 criteria that they have in common, but that can differ sometimes. Plants make their own food (autotrophic), while animals ingest external food (heterotrophic) .

Cards for mute chart with English and Latin names

We looked at pictures of animals, and agreed they were all “animals.” I explained that some animals might remain in one place for their entire life (sponge) while other can swim, fly, crawl, run…

Because the chart is organized from left to right in an evolutionary fashion, as the groups appeared on Earth, we started with the left column: Porifera. We looked at the pictures, laid them out, and noted their common vase shapes. We read the description card, and placed it at the top of the mute chart, followed by the label Porifera, and the pictures. We used the control chart to know where to place each picture, and practiced pronouncing the names.

Description cards and labels for each phyllum

Google search bar is a great tool (see below). Type the scientific term there, and it will tell you how to pronounce it, and will help you practice pronunciation with feedback.

Finally, we looked at the nomenclature cards in our manual, and read the definitions for parts of a Porifera. My 9 year old recalled all the parts and their functions. This indicated that her knowledge was stored in long term memory. Meanwhile, my 7 year was fascinated with the terms “spitules” and “excretory” part. We do have nomenclature cards from another company other than Alison’s Montessori, but I haven’t been thrilled with them. They are not appealing. The pictures are blend, and the text is unnecessarly complex. I will probably go with Alison’s nomenclature cards to be consistent with the charts we are currently using.

Description cards for each phyllum
Lessons are detailed and guided

💡 Side note: I was thinking of recreating a sponge-like model with slime for jelly between the 2 membranes. 💡🤔

The manual provides colorful visuals and definitions

After we read the nomenclature cards definition and looked at the pictures for each part, we concluded that we had studied the first phyllum of the Invertebrate Animal Kingdom. We acknowledged that we will be looking at the second phyllum in our next lesson: the Cnidarians.

This version is cut and laminated

In conclusion, my experience with the chart is satisfactory. Alison’s Montessori chart is large, bright, colorful, and informational. It comes with quick instructions to get you started. The description cards lead the presentation, and do well at introducing the content, but at also injecting rich vocabulary .

Disclosure: Alison’s Montessori let us test this material at no cost, no demand on me. I write honest reviews, and only on materials that have exceeded our expectations.

Please keep scrolling for more pictures, and don’t miss reading the next Lesson on the Animal Kingdom Vertebrates!

The set comes with instructions!
Manual we use: Montessori Research and Development

Ready for a lesson?


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