I ring my chime to get the class’s attention. I ask them to return to the carpet squares and ‘Show Five’. Once seated, I announce that we were about to begin the study on our second kind of snail. I share “The two type of snails that we are studing in this unit were………..” I wait for answers from the class. As expected, they answer “garden snail” (close enough!) “water snail.”. I continue, “We observed land snails and water snails and noticed there are some important ways they are different from each other. “ I set a timer and announce, “You have one minute to use your body and show your partner one thing that you observed on either of the snails.” My goal was to give them a fun way to demonstrate the tentacles, mouth, operculum, or something else. I don’t have a set idea of what to share, just that they use this quick experience to recall something about the snails . After one minute, I ring the chime to bring them back to their carpet squares.
I ask for their observations “What do you remember about the snails we observed?”. “Snails use their body (I reminded them of the term foot) to crawl”, “snails have tentacles to feel”. “Today, we get to use all this information to compare and contrast the snail. This shows what is different and the same about them.” My goal was to help the students focus the unique features of this snail so they could see characteristics that were different from the land snail a more in depth compare and contrast will come in a later lesson.
To facilitate the direct comparison piece of the lesson, I use a two part Venn diagram that I hand drew on chart paper. We begin to record things we notice about each snail. Since Kindergarteners like to see things in a visual presentation, I prefer this format using two different colors, one for each snail (brown for land snails on the left circle, blue for water snails on the right, overlapped with green). The use of color- as opposed to black- to present the information has the double benefit of a direct instructional applications (color helps cognitive organization and retention) and adds an element of visual interest, always helpful with this age.
I begin with, “What is same about the two snails?” “They have shells.”. “So I’ll put ‘shells’ in the center portion of the chart. “Anything else?” “The tentacles.”. “OK, is there anything different?” “The land snail has bottom tentacles.”. I put ‘bottom tentacles’ in the left portion of the chart. “What about the sea snail?” “They have oberculum.”. As each comparison was shared, I record it on the chart. I end the discussion at two comparisons to leave more for the small groups to brainstorm later in the lesson as a summative assessment.
After the whole class finishes the comparison, I told them “It’s time to continue this lesson with your table groups. I need you and your neighbors to come up with one or two more things that these snails have in common”. I use the chime to dismiss the students back to their tables. Once they were seated, I say “Think about their environment and body.”. To help the groups organize their thoughts, I pass out half sheets of paper with a labeled divided chart and give them five minutes to come up with some characteristics they could compare.
After five minutes, I give them a one-minute warning with the chime. Once they complete their chart, they have another minute to have a brief discussion at their table to share ideas. As that wound down, I again ring the chime. I ask the students to bring their chart when they return to their carpet squares to talk about our lesson, where I will add their ideas to our Venn diagram.
I ask the class to share their ideas, “Who noticed something that was the same or different in these snails?” “They both have mouths.” “They both have shells.” “They both use the foot to move around.”. As each idea was shared, I add it to the Venn diagram. Adding to the Venn helped us visually and cognitively compare the snails, meaning the students notice not only appearance but also functions as well. Through this activity, we come to realize these snails were more alike than different because there were more things in the middle section of the Venn diagram than on the sides. After all ideas were recorded, we review the contributions before it was posted near the Science area so the students could refer to it during future Science lessons or drawing/writing activities.