Founded by Sharon Duncan and located in Athens, Georgia, Waseca Biomes (pronounced Wa-She-Ka) has been making Montessori materials for the past twenty years. Using natural materials like cloth, paper, and wood, their materials are the gold standard for the study of geography through biomes, as well as integrated language and cultural studies. Another Waseca flagship is the well-known rainbow reading program and rainbow biome readers. Capturing the child’s interest, the materials are intentionally charming, and the children are naturally attracted to them. The beauty of the Waseca materials combined with their thoughtful lesson plans and extensions make them a must have for the Montessori classroom. Through our collaborative efforts, I have created a lesson plan for their Cosmic Nesting Boxes material, which I am proud to share (for free!) with all of you!
While I was a classroom teacher in the 9-12 classroom, we used the biome materials extensively to supplement our geography and cultural studies. They were a consistent go-to material for our students to conduct independent research. When I moved to the gym setting, I began checking in with every class to integrate their classroom concepts with my lessons. One of the lower elementary teachers mentioned that she just taught her students about the Cosmic Tower (Cosmic Nesting Boxes).
I had not heard of this material before, but it sounded pretty interesting. When I saw the material, my first impression was it was impressive in its clarity and elegance. The concept was simple, but so well executed that the students clearly understood its concepts. After another lower elementary classroom teacher said that they would be doing the Cosmic Nesting Boxes lesson later in the week, I knew this needed to be integrated into the PE classroom. I worked on creating a lesson that would encapsulate the experience of going from big (the universe) to small (the person). You can find that Cosmic Nesting Boxes lesson combined with their official narrative for the material presentation, for free, in the website store. I also encourage you to go to Wasecabiomes.org and see this material for yourself, as well as all the other wonderful products they have. I am proud of our collaboration with Waseca, and I will continue making lessons for their amazing materials.