Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Easy Homeschool Learning for the Preschool/Kindergarten Crowd: Snails, Chicks, and Ladybugs

Lately, I've been greeted every morning with requests for snail related learning materials(with a sprinkling of lady bugs and chicks). I think someone is ready for spring!

The internet(Google image search) had a lot of good free printables. I watercolored the one with the hen and chicks; my daughter(age five) did the others, and cut them out herself(mostly). She decided they needed glitter as well.

The library had some early learning books on snails, including what happens to bugs and snails in winter. Click on picture to enlarge and see titles.

An on-hand basket of shells(collected and dollar store), and a shell identification book from my adolescence, has filled my daughter's day with many hours of fun. She has named the snail shells and made a house for them. They even had a picnic with a watercolored free printable of lettuce which I shrunk to wallet size with Picasa.

Snails mentioned in the Bible:

"As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away." ~ Psalm 58:8

The Snails of all species in the Holy Land are in the habit, not of hybernating in winter, as they do in our colder climate, but of shutting themselves into their shells, and remaining dormant during the dry season. Few Snails can remain long in an active state without moisture. In order to prevent the evaporation of the moisture of the body, all those molluscs which have a thin or semi-transparent shell secrete themselves in dry weather under stones, like the shell-less snails or slugs, or else among moss and under leaves... The chinks and crevices of the limestone rocks are especially favourite hiding-places for many species, while those of the deserts, for instance, where they can find no such screen from the sun's rays, are provided with solid, colourless, and lustreless shells of enormous thickness, the calcareous substance of which prevents evaporation as they hang with their mouths glued on to the desert shrubs.

But, notwithstanding the care they take to secrete themselves, the heat often does dry them up, either by a long-continued drought, or by the sun's rays penetrating to their holes. Thus we find in all parts of the Holy Land myriads of snail-shells in fissures, still adhering by the calcareous exudation round their orifice to the surface of the rock, but the animal of which is utterly shrivelled and wasted—'' melted away,' according to the expression of the Psalmist. It
is very probable that this circumstance has supplied the metaphor for the passing away of the wicked in the passage quoted above. ~ The Natural History of the Bible(free and in public domain)

Easy and fun delight driven learning! And I didn't have to spend a dime.

A few resources we used:

Google: snail coloring pages, mazes, and worksheets; and look here.

Snail identification and external anatomy page here.

Vintage images to color here.

Snails(symbol of the Immaculate Conception)in Christian art. It was thought that snails reproduced asexually.

Saints and Snails: Saint Lydia
A certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one who worshiped God, heard us; whose heart the Lord opened to listen to the things which were spoken by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and stay." So she persuaded us.
—Acts 16:14-15 World English Bible

and Saint Jerome


KarenHSlifesituations said...

My daughter's friend made a terrarium for snails. She learned a lot about the behavior and life cycle of snails. She is the snail expert in the area.

Alexandra said...

I think that's what we will do as well - start a terrarium. We've got enough in the garden come warmer weather. :)

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