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mini snail farm trail

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Learning about living things #crowdfunding

On Thursday we were invited in to Wickhambreaux primary school to the after school young gardeners club for a Meet the Snails event.

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We took a mini farm with some baby snails and some big ones too so the children could see how they grew. One of the girls ran her finger round the spiral shell and told me how the shell grows as the snail gets bigger.

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The excitement of the children is always infectious on these occasions and this was no exception. They were amazed at how hard the shell was when the babies first hatch and how fast they move when they can smell food. The children were mostly six or seven and they were very knowledgeable about snails already but did enjoy feeling the radula in the snail's mouth gently rasp their fingers. It is difficult to explain in words how the snail eats but when you can feel it with your fingers it all makes sense. We sprinkled some dry snail food onto the inside of the mini farm bell too so they could see the snail opening its mouth to show the black radula inside and scrape the food off the surface.

The children already knew that snails laid eggs but they didn't know how many one snail could lay so it was good to be able to show them a clutch that were laid the previous week.

It's their long antennae that always fascinate me - they way they wave about in all directions. Because our eyes both normally point the same way so we can focus on an object, it is difficult to imagine what it's like to have eyes that just rove about randomly!

All too soon it was time to go for the molluscs and me so we said goodbye and left them to tend their gardens.

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Mini Snail Farm Trail: update #crowdfunding

Mini Snail Farm Trail Just think - your children could have 6 little cuties like these in their school classroom! And everything they need to look after them.

mini_snail_farm_baby_snailsYesterday we were at a remarkable event: Whitstable Museum of fun.  I found out it was part of lots of similar days happening across the UK. The idea is to engage young children in a whole range of science and arts experiments, which is something I thoroughly approve of. I was only able to be there with the molluscs for a relatively short period of time because of other commitments but it was a joy to see the children enjoying themselves and learning without realising it.

Log on here to contribute to our campaign fund and help disadvantaged children learn about living things: mini snail farm trail

 

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Mini Snail Farm Trail: support for schools

Mini snail farm trail is open for business and we need you to visit the campaign site, watch the fantastic video with all those cute baby snails in it and make a donation. It doesn't have to be much. If everyone gave £10 we would soon reach our target. Our modest aim is to give free mini snail farms to 50 selected schools.

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The mini snail farm is an invaluable resource in a classroom because the children learn so much from it. You get 6 baby snails just a few millimetres in length but very active, curious about their environment and fun to watch. The children's attention will be immediately engaged and they will be keen to look after them. The housing, bedding and some food are included in the parcel along with instructions on how to look after the snails. The children will be able to watch how the snails use their antennae to explore their surroundings. As they glide across the surface of the bell they will be able to watch the muscles ripple along the foot and see their mouths when they eat.

Just imagine yourself into their shoes and try to remember how exciting such discoveries could be when you were their age. Dig deep into your pockets and give generously. Get a mini farm for the children in your life.

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learning about living things

If you were up at the crack of dawn and watching early morning Sunday television, you might have seen the molluscs and me on the BBC 1 Breakfast Show. See the video here. It was a lovely gentle summer day when Helier Cheung from BBC World Service came to film and I talked to her about my crowd-funding campaign due to be launched on 22 September. Unfortunately that section got lost in the editing but you can read all about it and watch the video here.

mini snail farm

I think it is so important for children to learn about living things that I want to do what I can to encourage schools. If we can raise enough funds we want to give 50 mini snail farms to schools in areas where the children may not have the opportunity to play outside or bring living things into school.Commissioning teaching materials to go with the mini snail farms will be next on the agenda. But it all depends on getting the funds in and in turn that depends on all of you reading this blog.

Some people are organising fund-raising events for us, sponsored walks or coffee mornings or whatever you want to do really. But all donations are welcome; at this stage cheques payable to H&RH Escargots please and send to 18 St Vincents Close, Littlebourne, Canterbury Kent CT3 1TZ. After 22 September payments go through Indiegogo. Please pass on the message to all your friends, especially those who care about education. Thank you very much for your support.

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