Super Slow Snails - An Investigative Research Project

As we were tidying our garden we found some snails.  The children in the group  handled them carefully and showed great interest so the adults decided to turn this interest into an Investigative Research Project (IRP)  We started by discussing with the group what they wanted to find out about snails.  The children wanted to know what snails liked to eat, how they ate and how they moved and the project began.

As we were going to be watching and learning more about the snails we decided to make them a cosy home and thought about what they would like.  Children collected leaves and small twigs and lined the bottom of a glass tank before placing the snails carefully inside. Then we decided to try feeding the snails some fruit and chose apple and banana.  We cut the fruit up into pieces and watched to see which, if any would be eaten.  After watching closely it was clear that the snails enjoyed eating the banana but didn’t even try the apple so we knew snails liked to eat banana.  Next we made snail soup, blended lettuce, and painted it on the inside of the tank.  We watched the snails move up the side of the tank and begin to eat the soup.  Children watched with interest and we used the iPad and books to learn more about how a snail ate.  We learnt that snails have lots of tiny teeth.  We used magnifying glasses to see if we could see the snails’ teeth but they were far too small.   As we watched the snails eating the soup we talked about how slow they were moving and again used the iPad and books to find out information about how they moved.  We learnt that a snail has 1 big foot that it travels on and we watched the foot move as it was stuck to the inside of the tank.  We looked at the silvery trail the foot left to show where the snail had travelled.  The children also enjoyed looking at the different snail shells and knew the shell was the snails ‘home’.  Although some of the snails had different coloured shells they had one thing in common, the spiral shape on the shell. The children explored this by drawing their own spirals.  We learnt a poem about snails and performed it as part of sharing our learning with our friends.  Once we have completed our research and answered all our questions we made sure to return the snails to the garden where we had originally found them. We learnt a lot about snails and thoroughly enjoyed our 1st Investigative Research Project. We displayed our learning so that other children could find out about snails too.