After School Art: Snails, thinking through drawing

Today I put on the gardening gloves and turned over every flower pot in my garden looking for snails. Where are they when you need them? I eventually located six lucky ones who would be the inspiration for our artistic inquiry this term.

I’ve decided to explore how to build new knowledge through inquiry based learning and in particular through material investigation.

We started the session by making a shared drawing and writing about what we already knew about snails. Interestingly a discussion on slowness resulted in lots of turbo charged snails being drawn.

I brought out the live snails and asked the children to spend 15 mins observing with magnifying lenses and making detailed pencil drawings.

imageThe snails turned out to be lively models. This is Christian’s drawing of them stretching out on the side of the seed tray. We spent some time talking about questions that the drawing process brought up. Some of these were:

Why are snails so slow and sticky?

What are their antenae for?

Why do they have shells?

I then invited the children to choose materials from the table to make an artwork about the snails perhaps thinking about the questions they had been asking.

Some chose to tell a story through their art which was perhaps a way of thinking through the ideas we’d talked about.  Chloe focussed on the shell making this collage drawingimageAfter making a story and drawing about snail predators (this led back in to the shell question), Isla set up a snail race track with the help of Leo and Joshua. During this activity we discussed whether small or large snails were faster, whether snails had genders and also discovered that snails could do their own painting when the dragged their slime over felt tip.


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