The days leading up to vacation seem to pass ever-so-slowly, so what better to study than snails?
Heidi Hoiland’s sixth grade scientists spent part of the week before spring break focused on eight little gastropods. As part of their ecology studies, the Hockinson Middle School students were divided into groups, each testing the snails’ response to different stimuli—light and dark; soil and gravel; warm and cool; moist and dry; and sweet potato and regular potato.
“Most groups named the snails and talked about them like family,” Hoiland says, “even though they would only have each one for a 10-minute block of time.”
Over two days they observed their subjects and recorded data, and at the end of the week, each group analyzed its data, wrote conclusions and shared its results with the other groups.
“The snail experiment allowed the students the opportunity to hone several scientific skills,” Hoiland says. “This activity allowed them to look deeply into the interactions of one specific organism with a variety of factors.”