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Ants marching

Your Students Will Learn

  • Ants eat some, but not all, of the foods we do.
  • Ants live in groups or colonies.
  • Learning can come from careful observations and simple experiments.

Circle Time

Supplies: Are You an Ant? by Judy Allen or National Geographic Readers: Ants by Melissa Steward.

Activity: Ask the children to name their favorite foods. Then ask them to name foods they don’t like.

Tell students that ants have foods they like better than others, too. Ask them to imagine what foods ants like and dislike. Announce that you’re all going to do an experiment to find out.

Before you do, teach your students more about ants by reading one of the books listed above.

A Classroom Activity: The Ants Go Marching

Supplies: Cardboard egg cartons, stapler, brown paint, brushes, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, glue

Preparation: Cut each cardboard egg carton in half lengthwise, then widthwise, so you have four pieces of three sections that form a straight line. Staple each section closed. Ready the room for painting.

Activity: Let each child paint a carton section brown. When the paint is dry, help them attach pipe cleaners for legs and glue on googly eyes. Fun idea: Play the song The Ants Go Marching while the students make their projects.

An Outdoor Activity: The Ant Picnic

Ant picnic plate diagram Supplies: Paper plate, pen, six different foods (e.g., lettuce, sugar, crackers crumbs, crumbled cheese, banana, peanut butter)

Preparation: Divide the plate into six sections by drawing three lines that create a “six-pieced pie.”

Activity: On a warm day, take the children to a spot where you’ve seen ants. Let children put a different food in each section of the plate. (It would be nice to include some of the foods that came from the circle discussion.) Explain that ants will find their picnic eventually, but you must give them time. Perhaps you can plan your day so you can go inside to do the ant art project and eat lunch yourselves. Then go back and check. Once the ants have discovered their good luck, let the children watch what they do with their meal.

Follow-Up: Ask your students: Which foods do they like best? How do you know? If your class follows the ants back to their mound, ask: How do the ants carry the food back home? What do you think the ants’ home looks like?

A Bit of Science

If a worker ant finds a good food source, it leaves a scent trail so other ants in the colony can find it. Worker ants have two stomachs. One stomach stores the food the ant will use. The other one stores food the ant will share with the other workers at home.


 

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