Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

My Best Lesson - Blaze a Trail in Science with Snail Racing: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

My Best Lesson - Blaze a Trail in Science with Snail Racing: News

Article excerpt

One of my best-ever lessons involved snail racing. This was a wonderful opportunity to combine summer sunshine with biology (snails), physics (speed) and a bit of fun.

My 11- and 12-year-old students collected around 100 snails from "snail city", an area of local heath where the magnificent molluscs hang out on clumps of juicy horseradish leaves.

Back on the school field, each group of students was asked to pick a snail. The race track consisted of a plastic tray, and to make the snails race we used the sun's heat from behind and a giant horseradish leaf in front.

Speed would be calculated by taking the distance travelled (25cm) and dividing it by the time it took each snail to complete the course. Volunteers were given stopwatches to time each race.

Once each snail had been placed on the starting line, the students gathered around the track and the race began. Some snails stubbornly refused to race and retreated into their shells, while others veered sideways and had to be set back on track. …

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