When you first open a set of cards, from ETC Montessori, you occasionally notice your set of materials contains two different types of nomenclature cards. One that does not have the traditional 3 part card look, and one that has the look that so many of us have become accustomed to working with, and have often been trained on presenting and using with our students. This is certainly true for such curriculum items as our Physical Science, Upper Elementary Chemistry, Upper Elementary Botany, Measurement curriculum and Ecology. Therefore, it is often asked why some of our materials contain two types of nomenclature cards and how do you use them. In the next few paragraphs we will explore the reason for developing such cards, and what their intended use is.
For starters it's important to understand that presenting such subjects as chemistry and physics is not usually what one gets during their training. Sure, we are all encouraged to incorporate the ideas with other studies, but we are never really given the tools to do an in-depth study of these concepts. ETC Montessori was the first publisher to developed these materials in order to help teachers fill in the gaps that existed in the instruction of such concepts.
In our effort to find new ways of developing materials that were easily accessible to the educational community, we found that the problem was further compounded by the fact that many teachers avoided the instruction of these subjects altogether, due to a certain feeling of insecurity that existed in the amount of knowledge they themselves possessed. Understandably, not every person is an authority on every subject, and Montessori teachers are no exception. Montessori teachers are trained to be generalists and not specialists.
The specific nomenclature cards that we have developed, often referred to as "Teacher Presented Nomenclature", allow the teacher to give a presentation, or a lesson, without having to deal with the feeling of apprehension that usually comes from not having a strong foundation in Physics, Biology, or even Chemistry. These cards are not to be confused with the working nomenclature cards. The purpose of Teacher Presented Nomenclature (TPN) cards is introduction to the general concepts, and sparking the imagination. Therefore, because their intended purpose is not the same as a working model they do not include booklets, wall charts, or control cards. TPN cards usually include a large card with a visual aid, such as a picture, a smaller card with a definition, and a label. Working nomenclature cards, on the other hand, have the usual 3 part card look that so many of us are familiar with. In addition they include control charts, and booklets. These are the cards you want your children to work from. They can copy the pictures, definitions and labels, or create their own booklets. In general the working nomenclature cards allow the children to gain a working knowledge of the vocabulary along with the concepts associated with a given subject.
Understanding and using the correct cards, at the correct time, yields a deeper knowledge of a given subject that children will often refer back to in their future studies.