Nature Curriculum: Garden Snails

This weeks topic in our nature curriculum was all about garden snails. I must admit I wasn’t all that enamoured by this subject on first glance, given that they descend en mass to feast on my beautiful plants. I could not have been more wrong. These are truly amazing creatures (still on the fence about the flower thing)

Our poem of the week was again taken from the beautiful book I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree. In fact we choose four small poems relating to snails since they were all so special we couldn’t decide. It was just what we needed to get our snail learning off to a flying start.

Our art this week took us in a different direction. We studied The Snail by Henri Matisse. After 1948 Matisse was prevented from painting by ill health but, although confined to bed, he produced a number of works known as gouaches découpées. These were made by cutting or tearing shapes from paper which had been painted with gouache. Matisse himself said ‘I first of all drew the snail from nature, holding it. I became aware of an unrolling, I found an image in my mind purified of the shell, then I took the scissors’. He has combined pairs of complementary colours – red/green, orange/blue, yellow/mauve – to create a particularly vibrant effect”  (source: The Tate Modern) .

This was an interesting one for Neiva because its modern art and is subject to individual interpretation. In fact, whilst preparing this art project for Neiva, my mum called in to see us. I asked her to look at it and see if she could see a snail because I couldn’t. My mum who has no interest in art, looked at it for a few seconds and proudly exclaimed “yes, its here look” and showed me where the head started and the tail ended.

I carefully copied and cut out the shapes and numbered the back of them. Neiva’s job was to match the numbers (incorporating a little maths into our art study) and carefully stick them down. When she had finished, I asked Neiva if she could see a snail, which she could, and using her fingers duplicated exactly what my mum had said she’d seen earlier that day. I must admit, now I cant see anything else. There is definitely a snail there!

Our reading book of the week was the very heartwarming tale by Julia Donaldson, The Snail and the Whale. One little snail longs to see the world and hitches a lift on the tail of an enormous whale. Together they go on an amazing journey, past icebergs and volcanoes, sharks and penguins, and the little snail feels so small in the vastness of the world. But when disaster strikes and the whale is beached in a bay, it’s the tiny snail’s big plan that saves the day!

To supplement our learning about the different parts of the snail, we used Twinkl to find some amazing support sheets. The weather this week has been beautiful so we were lucky enough to spend most of our learning on a blanket in the garden.

We ended this beautiful study of snails with a yummy treat (now definitely a Friday tradition). Given the success of the of the very yummy yet extremely sugary flower tarts last week, I thought we’d better find a health(ier) bake! Once again Pinterest saved the day and we made these wonderful “fruity-veggie-snails” (we are still working on their official name!) You can find the recipe below.

Next week, our local schools are on half term and we did say we would have the same holidays for Neiva. However, next week is tree study and we didn’t want to leave it out since Neiva adores trees. She is such a tree hugger (literally) So we decided to plan some learning for the beginning of the week and take her on a little holiday somewhere special, somewhere she loves, somewhere she is surrounded by her favourite trees later on in the week.

This is what I love about a nature curriculum, you never tire of learning… even in the school holidays!

Veggie Snails

A quick and simple child friendly recipe served on a bed of rocket
Prep Time10 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Celery or Carrot (sliced into batons)
  • 1 whole Orange (thinly sliced)
  • 1 whole Apple (thinly sliced)
  • 1 whole Cucumber (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp Smooth Peanut Butter (per snail) you can substitute this for Houmous or even Almond Butter

Instructions

  • This couldn't be easier. Using the peanut butter as glue, assemble all the pieces to form a snail. 

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2 Comments

  1. Jessica Holding
    April 8, 2019 / 8:59 pm

    Really glad to have found your blog and to meet you Leanne! Did you notice the little 🐌 shape in the very top left lilac bit too?? Xx

    • April 13, 2019 / 1:20 am

      And you too Jess! I had to go back and look at the lilac bit, this is what I love about Art so many different interpretations! Looking forward to seeing you again soon my lovely.

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