Meet Lolly the Land Snail

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SWBAT identify a snail and the parts of a snail by creating a diagram.

Big Idea

Many young children have never seen a live snail. This lesson introduces the kids to what a snail is and how they get from place to place.


5 minutes

To begin this lesson, I gather the kids on the floor and ask them to think about if they've ever seen a snail. 

I give them 20 seconds to silently think to themselves. I then call on volunteers to share what they think a snail is and describe what it looks like.

As the kids share I record their contributions on chart paper that I leave up for the duration of the lesson. I do this so the kids who have no background experience with snails, and I was surprised by how many there are, could access and use the background knowledge of their peers. This is also helpful for supporting ELL students.


10 minutes

I begin this lesson by showing the kids a Youtube video of, Tiny Snail.

If you prefer to read the book, you can purchase it at Amazon through this link.

I stop the video at key points to let the kids discuss what they notice about the snail in the story. I ask these "why and how" questions:

Why do you think it's taking Tiny so long to get to the tree?

Why do you think Tiny move so slow?

How did Tiny use the house to help her?

How did Tiny get to the tree?  I'm asking them to be specific here. It helps the kids focus on the foot of the snail which they will observe in a moment.

Why did Tiny want to get to the tree?

These discussions lead into the observation of the snails.




10 minutes

This is the fun part! Time to observe snails!

I have the kids remain seated on the floor. I tell them the guidelines and procedure:

I have a dozen medium sized snails in a clear terrarium in my classroom. I put one snail on a laminated sheet of large construction paper and place one on each of my six tables as I give the kids the rules and procedures for the investigation. This means I am delivering snails to tables as I talk to the kids while they are still seated on the floor. I also have my helper of the day place a magnifying glass where each student sits at each table while I pass out snails.

  1. Rules:

    • stay in seat
    • keep hands in lap until asked to use them
    • be very quiet at your seats
    • always look at the snail, but never touch them


    • you will sit at your seat and use the magnifying glass to look closely at your snail without touching the jar/bowl
    • you will look at your snail to determine how your snail moves. When I come to your table,  I will give you snail some spinach so you can see how it eats
    • you will talk to your table friends about what you see the snail doing and how it is doing it

    I then dismiss one table at a time to go to their seats to observe their snails. I give the kids 6-8 minutes to observe the snails. The time depends on how long it takes to prepare them. I set a timer - I use my iPhone. Once timer goes off, I instruct the kids to give their magnifying glasses to their table leader who in turn gives it to my helper of the day.

    I call one table at a time to come back to the floor to sit like scientists so we can find out what they observed.


5 minutes

While the kids are seated on the floor, I explain to them how snail moves using its single foot, which is called a monoped, mono meeting one and ped meaning foot. 

I explain to them that when the snail moves, he pulls himself together and then pushes himself apart. I use a Slinky toy to demonstrate. 

I then tell them that the snail is slimy for two reasons:

  1. they use the slime to protect themselves so they don't dry out
  2. they have to be slimy so they can move, otherwise they would get stuck

I ask the kids to think about what might happen if the snail wasn't slimy. I give them 30 seconds to think silently. I use my cell phone to time it. I then have the kids share their thoughts with their floor partners, which are pre-determined by me. They are each given 20 seconds to share. 

Once the kids have shared their thoughts with their partners, I use name sticks from a name stick can to call on students to share the ideas they discussed. 


5 minutes

I keep the kids gathered on the floor and extend the learning to other animals that use a foot to move. I also compare the foot that moves snails to that of humans.

First I explain to them the definition of a foot so the kids can make the connections with ease:

The lower or lowest part of something standing or perceived as standing vertically; the base or bottom.

I explain to the kids that legs move us, but without feet we could not stand, nor could we walk. 

Here's a list of animals that move on one foot:






10 minutes

For an evaluation of learning about a snail, I ask the kids to draw and label a diagram of a snail on a blank piece of copy paper. 

I demonstrate how to draw and label a snail. I explain what words must be included in their diagram. 

I send each group to their table one at a time and have the table leader from each group come and get the blank paper from me for each person in their group. 

As the kids work, I roam the room to assist and support as needed. 

Once the kids are finished creating their diagrams, I have them glue the diagrams into their science journals. 

I randomly choose four diagrams to hang in the room by pulling name sticks from a name stick can. This prevents me from just choosing items created by the best artists or brightest students all the time.

If you teach this lesson earlier in the year and your students are not yet ready for drawing and labeling their own diagram, I have included a cut and paste diagram in the resources of this section.


5 minutes

I have the kids gather on the floor by calling one table at a time to sit like scientists. Once everyone is on the floor and sitting appropriately, I ask them think quietly in their minds about other animals that they know that move without legs, like a snail. I time the thinking for 30 seconds. The kids are not allowed to talk during the think time as that would defeat the purpose of the quiet time.

Once the 30 seconds are up, I have the kids turn and talk to their pre-assigned floor partner. They are each given 20 second to share out the list of animals that they remembered moves without legs, like a snail.

After each student has had a chance to share with their partner, I use name sticks from the name stick can to choose random students to share what they discussed. 

As the kids share their ideas, I record them on chart paper so we can quickly discuss each one. The discussion refines the list to include only animals that move without legs, like a snail. 

For instance, the kids have me cross out caterpillar and centipede because they have very small feet and/or legs that are hard to see. 

They leave on:



slug (I had to give them the name after they described the animal)