K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • read to find answers to questions they have on snails.
  • respond to literature that is read to them by the teacher.
  • discern if information is fact or fiction.
  • take a poll, graph the results using Graph Club software (or a regular Spreadsheet), and interpret the information.
  • use the Internet as a source of information.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2-3 hours


Technology resources

  • Computer with internet access
  • Graph Club software by Tom Snyder productions, 1996 or you can use something like Microsoft Works Spreadsheet
  • Printer


  • Some prior experience using Graph Club software or Spreadsheets would be helpful.
  • You may want to review with students the difference between fiction and nonfiction (make-believe and reality).


Day 1

  1. On chart paper, draw a K-W-L chart. Explain to students what each section means. Begin by activating prior knowledge and asking students what they know about snails. Fill in this information on the “K” column of the chart.
  2. Introduce The Biggest House in the World. Discuss cover and make predictions. Tell students that it is a fiction story about a snail. As you read, discuss which aspects of the story are make-believe and which may be real.
  3. To close the activity, have students brainstorm a list of questions about snails that they would like answered. Fill questions in on the “W”column on the chart. Tell students that they will be using the internet to help answer questions tomorrow (or whenever your next lesson will be).

Day 2

  1. Begin by reviewing your K-W-L chart. What do we already know about snails? What do we still want to learn? Remind students that the internet is a good resource for finding information. Tell them this what we will use to research snails.
  2. Bring students in small groups to the computer with you to look at the Snails for Kids website. Skim through the information together and find answers to your questions. The material on the website is written above a second grade level so they will need lots of teacher guidance with this.
  3. Once all the students have had a chance to look at the website, come back together as a whole group to record what you have learned on the K-W-L chart.
  4. Give students a piece of drawing paper and tell them to fold it in half. Tell them that on one side you want them to draw something make-believe about snails from the story and write a caption. On the other side, they will draw something real and write 2 true facts about snails.

Day 3

  1. Begin telling students that some people have pet snails or keep them in their aquariums. Take a class poll. After all we have learned, who would like a pet snail? Record yes, no, and maybe responses with tally marks. (To go along with this, students could even do a journal response explaining their answer.)
  2. Then using Graph Club or a spreadsheet. Let students make some different graphs with this information.
  3. Print graphs and display them. Have students analyze the data. Which answer got the greatest response? The least? etc.


Students will be assessed in three different areas. First , while you read the story aloud to them, ask questions to monitor their comprehension. Second, when filling in the “learn” column on your chart, you’ll get an indication of how much they learned by what they share. The final project (Telling something make-believe and factual) will let you know how each individual child grasped the information. What did he/she recall about the story? Did he/she come up with 2 solid facts that they learned?

Finally, to assess the Math portion, you’ll need to observe as they graph their information and look at the final product. Also, see if they can answer questions by reading the information on the graph.

Supplemental information

  • Snailology by Michael Elsohn Ross. This book is a great resource if you don’t have access to the internet. You can use it in place of the snail’s website.
  • The Adventures of Snail at School by John Stadler is good tie-in story
  • Comments

    You can extend this lesson in many ways. To incorporate more technology, students can draw a snail picture on Kid Pix and type a sentence or two telling what they have learned about them. If you you find snails in your garden, bring them to school. Let students record observations in a Science journal. Another possibility is to let students write fictional stories about a snail. As I mentioned earlier to tie in with the graphing activity, have students write a journal entry on whether or not they would like a pet snail and explain why.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 2
          • 2.RL.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
        • Writing

          • 2.W.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).

    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Grade 2

        • Measurement & Data
          • 2.MD.10 Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems1 using information presented in a bar graph.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 2

  • Goal 2: The learner will develop and apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.02: Use text for a variety of functions, including literary, informational, and practical.
    • Objective 2.03: Read expository materials for answers to specific questions.
    • Objective 2.04: Pose possible how, why, and what if questions to understand and/or interpret text.

Information Skills (2000)

Grade 2

  • Goal 3: The learner will RELATE ideas and information to life experiences.
    • Objective 3.05: Describe how information and ideas are influenced by prior knowledge and personal experience.
  • Goal 4: The learner will EXPLORE and USE research processes to meet information needs.
    • Objective 4.09: Present information in a variety of formats (print, graphical, audio, video, multimedia).