The race is on!!

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SWBAT discuss the difference between land and water snails by observing them racing.

Big Idea

The students learn to state and defend by using evidence.


5 minutes

To begin this lesson, I have the kids sit on the carpet. I call one table at a time to come and sit like scientists.

I ask the kids to think about what they've learned about snails so far and what they think we will need to have successful snail races. I give them 20 seconds to think silently to themselves. I then give them 30 seconds each to share with their floor partners, a total of one minute. 

Once everyone has shared with their floor partners, I ask a few kids to volunteer what they discussed. This helps the kids that were absent struggling to remember to connect to what we've learned from the previous three lessons.


5 minutes

The kids remain on the floor and are asked to use what they've learned and heard from the other lessons to formulate a prediction as to which snail would win if they were to race.

I give each student a medium sized sticky note paper.

I then call up each child one at a time by pulling name sticks from a name stick can. I have them place their name sticky paper on the side of the snail that they think would win a race.

I have written "land" on one side of a piece of chart paper and "water" on the other. Once they have all placed their sticky note on the side with the snail they think will win a race, I have them help me count up the total number of "votes" for each type of snail.

To count up the votes, I use a procedure that supports our math standards. I demonstrate how to organize and count a group of objects by writing one number on each sticky note from left to right. Once I have recorded the number on the last sticky note, I write the total number of stickies at the bottom of each column. I repeat this on the water snail side of the poster.


10 minutes

I have the kids sit at their tables by calling the tables one at a time by table color. I then go over the expectations as I place a cup on each table with one water and one land snail.


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


  • you will sit at your seat and use the magnifying glass to look closely at your snails without touching the racing mat
  • you will look at your snails to determine how which snail is the water snail and which is the land snail
  • you will talk to your table friends about which snail you think will win the race and why

Once each table has a cup with snails in it, I walk around one more time to take the snails out of the cups and place them in the circle on the mat.

We conduct three races and document which snail wins each race on each table. I record the information on a graph on chart paper.


10 minutes

Once the races are over, I collect the snails and return them to their appropriate habitats. I then call one table at a time to come and sit on the carpet. I demonstrate how to organize the data collected from the races. I put the data into a chart.

I then have the kids talk to their floor partners how to read the information and how they could use it to support or deny the prediction they made about which snail would win the races.

I then call on volunteers to share with the class how the information on the graph tells about their prediction.

The other students are encouraged to ask questions if they have any. This helps develop the skill of stating and defending based on evidence.


10 minutes

The evaluation of this lesson is done by having the kids write about their prediction and how it was supported or denied by the evidence gathered and graphed from the races.

I have the kids return to their tables by calling one table at a time. I then explain to the kids what I expect them to do in their science journals. I explain to them that I expect them to write about what snail they guessed would win the race, if that guess was correct and what the evidence from the chart proved.

As the kids work at their tables, I roam the room and ask them to explain what they are writing and why they chose to write that.

I check their journals and comment on what they say. I encourage them to add more when needed.