Children trace the stencil of the continent and then use the pin to punch out the shape.
Description of above photos: Children keep their work in a geography folder which my assistants make and record the completed continents so children don't repeat them. Later they glue them onto blue circles duplicating the continent map. Lastly, they paste printed labels, which they have cut from a sheet, onto the continents.
Push Pin work is a favorite in most Montessori classrooms. It is a great pre-scissor tool for our youngest students. Let me explain: After a child push pins the outline of a shape, he/she pulls away the surrounding paper to reveal the completed shape. This work is most often used in my classroom to punch out the shapes of the continents. Later, these pieces are glued onto large blue circles of construction paper in order for the children to construct their first maps. It is also used when I give a presentation designed for the older children who have mastered scissors to enable the younger students to also complete the work. A recent example is the portraits/busts of President George Washington and President Abraham Lincoln. This material is very familiar to the metal insets, only the shapes are of the two Presidents. Older children traced these and easily cut out the pattern. The younger children used push pins to complete the work.
But, more often the work is used in the construction of continent maps. However, just after the first month of school had passed, one of my older students decided she wanted to punch out each of the states in the United States. It took her several months to finish all of the states. Next, my assistant Jill taped two large pieces of tracing paper over the wooden United States map and the girl traced the outline of the entire map onto the paper. This became her guide for gluing down all of the states. Many children stopped by her table to witness her production. She was so focused on completing the work. On the day she finished it, her mother came early to school to pick it up to be framed. The child's entire school community and family honored her work and her commitment to finishing it.
The individual states were laid out in color groups making it easier for her to select one and glue it to its proper place on the traced out map.
It took her almost six hours to glue each state in place. This was after months of punching them out. Next, she cut out the entire map and glued it over an extra large sheet of blue paper. This is the work of a five year old Montessori child in our kindergarten program.