Second Great Lesson - the Coming of Life - Timeline of Life

Sample middle section of the AMI version of the Timeline of Life

The Second Great Lesson tells the Story of the Coming of Life. Materials needed include 2 dinosaur charts and 1 Timeline of Life. The timeline begins with the earliest forms of life and ends with the coming of man (which is the next Great Lesson, so we don't dwell on it here). The key point to the story, whether you tell the Old Earth (evolutionary) version or adapt for a Young Earth or 6-Day Creation is this:

Life provides the balance. 

This story opens up the Biology album. There is also a follow-up work on the Timeline: a mute version.

Goal: We hope for development of appreciation for ALL of life. 

Neither the Control nor the Mute (also called Working) timelines should be entirely complete, leaving room for the children to add information through their own research - they should also not be presented in full detail, leaving details on the strips for the children to discover (they won't discover everything before they use the mute strip!). We hope that this work will entice some children to re-create the timeline for themselves and add in their own points of interest. Many children will do in-depth research on particular topics of interest; and some children will simply delve into the biology album.

With the mute strip, each "era" is stored in its own color-coded pouch or envelope; the corresponding contents have colored dots or other coding on the back to indicate where they belong. One idea I have seen that I love, is that the mute pieces could have a tidbit of information about the image on the front side - just enough to entice the child to go explore for more information (and if they are not enticed, then they still have just a little bit more knowledge than they had before). 

In lower elementary, present the version that suits your situation or family accordingly. In upper elementary, introduce other versions, just as we introduce other Creation stories in upper elementary.

There are a variety of Timeline of Life options available for purchase, download or creation. Some will match up with some albums better than others.

Old Earth:
Young Earth: 
  • there was one, but I'm not pulling it up now - it didn't really correspond with the lesson, but could provide some good inspiration. I'll add it later if I find it again. 
  • Keys of the Universe is slowly in process of creating a 6-day creation set of albums with corresponding materials to support such families. 

To date the only downloadable and printable option that matches AMI albums is offered at Garden of Francis and Keys of the Universe. Both complete and in sections for printing on various sized paper.

  • General search for Great Lessons on Montessori Nuggets
  • God With No Hands
  • Coming of Life
  • Coming of Human Beings
  • Communication in Signs
  • Numbers


    1. I'd have thought the Young Earth parents would want to discourage research - it might lead to their children realizing how inaccurate the information they're being taught is.

      1. There are respectful and thoughtful scholars on both perspectives; there are also rude, condescending feelings on both sides - just depends on the person involved. It's very sad that such negativity and hostility exist on this topic.