Saturday, November 15, 2008

We LOVE snails

Today Henry and I headed over to the San Francisco Exploratorium for a little family science. We took a class called "Garden Snail Inquiry." Who'd have thunk that snails were so damn fascinating?

We started the class with a little ice breaker of writing Haiku about snails. Again, who'd have ever thunk to write poetry about the lowly garden snail. Henry and I came up with our Haiku together: Oh hidey-home snail! Curious tentacle touch. Leaving shiny trail. Look out all past and present poet laureates. The Wisniewski's are on a tear.

Overall, the class was pretty interesting. We got to explore snails in compelling ways. Henry ended up trying to build a snail obstacle course. After some trial and error we figured out that you need to lure them with food. We discovered that they don't like Jolly Ranchers. Could we have stumbled upon the idea that will make us millions? Repackaging Jolly Ranchers as tiny little garden encircling bricks? Not surprisingly, they are healthy eaters. The little buggers prefer strawberries and leaves. Life lessons in snail management. Oddly, of all the supplies that they provided to provoke intriguing science questions regarding snails - salt was noticeably missing. Go figure.

We did have one minor glitch with our first experiment. We were to take our snail, put it in a tin foil pan, cover it with a lid that blocked out all the light except for the small square cut-out that we then covered up with a high powered flashlight. We were attempting to determine whether Mr. Slimy would crawl to or away from the light. Our snail definitely went towards the light. Yes, towards the light in the poltergeist sense of the word. "Carol Anne, stay away from the light, baby!" After 5 minutes of waiting for our specimen to prove our hypothesis out, we eventually determined that he was dead. There he remained, curled up inside his shell having left to join his fellow departed snail friends. We held a one minute funeral and got another snail.

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