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This inventive lesson supports inquiry through a practical approach that engages students in observing the fascinating world of garden snails. Learning involves studying physiological features, analyzing environmental relationships and developing an understanding of sustainability. The five hands-on activities provide a comprehensive experience during which students will:
This lesson supports K-2 Science and Social Studies outcomes related to growth and development of animals and interactions between animals and their environment. There are also opportunities to incorporate English Language Arts, Visual Arts and Mathematics outcomes as students research written material, analyze data and present visual displays. A key component of the lesson involves collecting and keeping snails in a temporary habitat in the classroom. This activity could easily be developed into an action project in which students create a schoolyard green space that provides habitat for snails and other shade loving organisms like toads.
Snails and slogs are important prey for other animal species but are pests to home gardeners and farmers because of the damage caused to flower and vegetables. Many gardeners resort to control methods that could introduce harmful chemicals to the environment and locally affect food availability for bird and amphibian populations. A class could undertake a community awareness campaign to promote green methods for discouraging snails and slugs from gardens without killing them. Students could collaborate with a local organic farm by offering demonstrations and workshops about natural pest control techniques.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Good|
An approach that combines brainstorming, experimentation and modeling fosters independence and creativity while supporting an informed decision-making process.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
Students gain a deeper understanding of the connection between the environment and human health as they learn about the role of gastropods in important ecological processes like decomposition.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
This lesson motivates students to use reasoning and collaboration to evaluate information and determine the direction of further research.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
Although the lesson does not include specific action projects, the topic does provide a basis for classroom environmental initiatives such as building a vermicomposter, promoting reduced pesticide use within the community and involvement in community habitat restoration projects.
|Acting on Learning: |
Learning moves from understanding issues to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community, or for the planet
Initially some students may be repulsed by snails which are often represented as slimy and unappealing. However, the guided learning of this lesson provides a supportive environment for students to examine their feelings about these animals and develop an awareness of the vital connections between all organisms in the natural world.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
This resource focuses on nature thus a human component is not an important feature of the lesson.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).|
|Personal Affinity with Earth||Very Good|
The outdoor component has students closely studying the environment to locate and view snails in their natural habitat. This observation of the sights, sounds and smells of nature creates a very personal and meaningful experience for each individual
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The lesson centres on investigating local snail populations within a natural area close to school. Consequently, students will be able to recognize habitat features within their community and develop more awareness of the value of these green spaces.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
A teacher could add an interesting research extension to this lesson by having students develop a small natural space on school grounds and measuring snail abundance before and after the habitat improvements. The information would support a school-wide awareness program where the class demonstrates the role of conservation in maintaining healthy environments for the future.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
The “Fact or Fiction?” and “Snail Research” activities foster curiosity by allowing students to make their own conclusions about information through meaningful dialogue between classmates and the teacher.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
The emphasis is on Science and Social Studies outcomes related to sustainability however, the analysis of written information and scientific data support ELA outcomes and statistical math concepts. Students also develop a Visual Art project where they create a painting or diorama of a snail in its habitat.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
An important feature of this lesson is the emphasis on the scientific process where students access prior knowledge to develop questions that can be tested through research which provides a framework for informed conclusions.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
No specific differentiation strategies are included although there are some general suggestions for assisting struggling students. The hands-on nature of the snail observations will appeal to a wide range of learners.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
There are many opportunities for students to be actively involved in questioning and processing information especially during the outdoor exploration and the in-depth observations of snails in the classroom habitat. Going outside also allows students to expand their learning beyond the lesson as they observe and interact with a local natural area.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Small group work is used to foster peer to peer dialogue and generate ideas. Students are also encouraged to break into small groups to conduct research projects such as determining food preferences of snails.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Good|
Rubrics are used for the formative assessment of science skills and to evaluate the final visual art project. Open-ended questions provide the framework for students to explain and justify their ideas so a teacher can informally assess the processing of new information.
|Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.|
The small group process means that a teacher can incorporate peer teaching into this lesson by having the groups present their information through activities such as a gallery walk or think-pair-share.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
This lesson focuses on a native animal species within a local habitat therefore the content is extremely relevant especially since students may have been previously unaware of the importance of snails within the local environment.
|Case Studies: |
Relevant case studies are included. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore concepts in an authentic context.
|Locus of Control||Satisfactory|
Due to the young age level this lesson requires a significant amount of teacher direction. However, there is significant attention paid to having students select their own research questions and presentation methods.
|Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.|