Man and Mollusc
Lesson Plan for Grade 4 to Grade 8


Lesson Goals:

  1. Introduce what a mollusc is touching on the the taxonomy system of kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, species. You may want to printout the Taxonomy Article found on the checklist
  2. Learn general anatomy of three of the seven molluscan classes:
  3. Get to know where different molluscs live. (Marine, terrestrial, freshwater, desert, mountains and most likely in your own back yard
  4. Learn what do molluscs eat; carnivores, herbivores, parasites
  5. Learn how molluscs move around or how they secure themselves so to remain firmly rooted to the spot
  6. How do molluscs mate and grow to maturity. (many molluscs are hermaphrodites and this might be quite a new concept for the students)
  7. How do we as humans use molluscs and why are they so important to us. Discuss food, industrial uses, medicines being produced from molluscs, etc. Check out or even print out the Man and Mollusc article on Man's Uses of Molluscs. This is listed on the printout check list on the main lesson plan
  8. How are molluscs like other animals and how are they different
  9. How do molluscs interact with theie environment. Many are friends, pest or even kept as pets. Many can become environmental pests while others are being farmed (Aquaculture, mariculture heliciculture) to help feed the world.
  10. How do environmental problems prove disastrous to molluscs? Such things as loss of environment through oil spills, dynamiting coral reefs for the coral and fish, dredging sand for beaches, raking the ocean floor for food thus destroying the mollusc's home, habitat destruction such as deforestation wiping out or severally endangering terrestrial molluscs, molluscan problems such as the accidental introduction through the emptying of ship's ballast tanks which often carry the veliger state of many molluscs such as the zebra mussel which is now a serious infestation in the Great Lakes. plus many more problems.
  11. Discuss shell collecting and even how molluscan are now being kept as pets especially in salt -water aquariums. It's the new in thing today.


Shell Hands-on Activities:

  1. Have children bring in any shells that they might have personally. Place each child's shells in a zip lock bag and label them well
  2. Teachers, you may want to set up a classroom habitat terrarium, aquarium or other similar display. See instructions on how to do this in the main lesson plan. Encourage your students to assist un this project
  3. Bring in edible shells that are purchased from groceries store or from sea food markets so that the children can actually see the animal, not just its shell. If to be kept for a few days, these may be preserved in rubbing alcohol
  4. Set up a shell display and have the children try to place the shells into the correct class. Be sure to print out the "Visual Shell Kit" available and you and your students may actually be able to label the genus and species of the shell
  5. If real energetic and you have a good parent help system in place; you may even put on a molluscan meal. (Try clam chowder, fried scallops, escargot in garlic butter. There are many great shell fish recipes available both on the Man and Mollusc Edible Molluscan Data Base at: molluscan_food_mp.html or on the WWW.
  6. Set up a terrarium, aquarium fresh or salt water or design a classroom tide and rock pool if you live by the ocean. This must be thought through carefully and well before starting the lesson plan. Instruction to assist you are located on the general Lesson Plan


Story and Book Time:

  1. For younger grades, read "Sammy's Adventure to the class. Have a short discussion to see how many things they can learn about a land snail from the story.
  2. Borrow Molluscan books from your school library or town libraries.
  3. Use the Visual shell kit provided on the checklist
  4. Use articles such as Amazing Molluscan Facts:which is listed as a print out on the checklist
  5. Use Man and Mollusc's: A Beginner's Guide to the Molluscs listed on the general check list of print outs


Discussion Time:

  1. Discuss what your students have learned so far from this lesson plan
  2. Let your students tell you about shell stories or trivia they may know.
  3. A great discussion can be around how shells have been used and how they may be used in the future. See or even printo the Uses of Molluscs article found on the checklist
  4. Discuss the environmental importance of molluscs
  5. Discuss how they can also be problems as well as pets


Miscellaneous Activities: (Children's art work, poems etc. can be displayed on the Man and Mollusc Web site if they would like to see them there. Visit the Kid's Zone (/kid_zone.html) for details.

  1. For the younger children, colour prepared molluscan pictures. Try to provide each child with a gastropod, bivalve and cephalopod picture
  2. Draw a gastropod, Bivalve and a cephalopod
  3. Printout and have the stidents label molluscan anatomy pages
  4. Write out a short report to accompany these pictures
  5. Write their own snail story, limerick or poem
  6. Make a classroom poster or collage or diorama


More Ideas:

  1. Field trips are great for students. Go to the ocean, beach and or tide pools, lakes, streams or other area that molluscs can be found. Plan this well in advance so as to be not disappointed by not locating molluscs. See the general lesson plan to help you arrange for such a trip
  2. Find out if there is a shell club of a shell collector in your area that may be willing to come out and speak to your class
  3. Museums, aquarium's if available are other great field trips but plan well ahead