Once upon a time, a librarian walked the land-sharing stories about snails. Snails? Yes, snails!
ISP Grade 9 students had a guest speaker, one of our very own from our library, Ms Tara Russell Ethridge, Elementary Librarian. In collaboration with the Grade 9 science teachers, Mr. and Mrs Pacelli, Ms. Tara arranged to read a very special picture book entitled: “The snail with the right heart”, written by Maria Popova.
This true story is based on actual scientific events and tells the tale of Jeremy, a hermaphroditic snail born with a counterclockwise shell. The story takes on a telenovela of chance meetings, gender, genetics, love, death, and evolution. What a great way to bridge our genetics unit with our evolution unit in Grade 9 Science.
The quotes below from our Grade 9 students show how much they enjoyed and learned from this unique experience:
“I really liked Ms. Tara reading us the story because as high-schoolers we never really get to have an experience that can take us back to our childhood and educate us all at the same time.”
“We learned that snails are really interesting. I never knew that they had both male and female organs and the love dart was the most interesting for me. I’m still really curious about how snails have such a long life span and why exactly their lifespans are reduced if they get the love dart. I also want to know if they somehow agree on who gets the love dart.”
“I enjoyed the presentation of the book. I thought that it was a nice change of pace and I enjoyed listening. I learned about hermaphrodites and about genetics and evolution. Lastly, I would still like to learn about situs inversus and its effects on a human body.”
“Ms. Tara was extremely kind and it was entertaining to do a class reading with a picture book just like we used to in elementary school. I learned a lot about genetics, I didn’t even know many of the facts about snails, like how they’re hermaphrodites, and didn’t know about the love dart. It was also interesting to see how rare the trait was and how snails have evolved over the years. I wonder if they still plan on examining the offspring and trying to link some other traits to the rare trait as it is a polygenic trait.”