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Today, as part of the 12 Months of Montessori Learning series, I’m sharing how we went from an unplanned, ad-hoc observation to a full-fledged unit on the study of snails!
Why I love hands-on animal observation
It all began the day I tried to prune my out-of-control clematis plant. We found an adult and baby snail and thought we would bring them indoors to observe for a few days.
A few days has turned into almost three weeks. During this time, the boys and I have
- noticed the snails poop
- watched the adult snail chew on a leaf and saw its cute little mouth in action
- “played” with the snails by letting them crawl on the boys’ hands and arms
- seen the trail of slime that the snails leave behind as they crawl
- learned parts of a snail and looked for it on the adult snail (the baby is too small)
- observed that snails don’t like to be submerged in water, so that’s one way to see if they are still alive (because they will crawl out for sure!)
- learned that snails estivate in less-than-ideal conditions (and this is why we kept wondering if they are still alive)
- continuously changed the environment inside our bug habitat to see which conditions are more ideal for our new pet (we found that spraying a mist daily and leaving it in the bathroom for a while helps it to emerge from estivation.)
Snails are wonderfully low-maintenance and inexpensive to care for, and they are excellent to observe and study because they are so slow!
Children aged 0-6 learn concretely, so whenever I can I try to provide a way of learning that involves working with the hands and all five senses. I didn’t plan on keeping the snails for this long, but we inherited a wonderful bug habitat from a dear friend and it was the perfect tool to continue observing and learning about the snails.
It took Z a while to build up the courage, but he was finally brave enough to let a snail crawl on his hand.
Snail Learning Resources
- The Biggest House in the World by Leo Lionni
- Are You a Snail? by Judy Allen
- “What Lives in A Shell?” by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld (not only about snails, but about shell animals in general)
Nomenclature Cards and Books:
- Snail Nomenclature Cards and Nomenclature Book by Montessori Print Shop
- Snail Nomenclature Cards and Nomenclature Booklet by The Pinay Homeschooler
- Snail Nomenclature Cards by Montessori Mom
How To Care:
- Land Snails: How To Care For Your Newly Found Pet by Fun In The Making
- Awesome videos on BBC.uk — these videos are so amusing to watch!
Don’t forget to check out my post last month on Color Mixing Activities for Kids!
Amazing blogs involved in the 12 Months of Montessori Learning