By learning about and observing ants students will make predictions about the effects of changes in the ants' environment.
Main Curriculum Tie:
Science - 3rd Grade
Standard 2 Objective 2
Describe the interactions between living and nonliving things in a small environment.
- Into the Forest card game (Nature’s Food Chain Game) - 2-6 players, age 7 and up.
Ampersand Press 1-800-624-4263
- Onto the Desert card game (A Game of Survival) - 2-6 players, age 7 and up. Ampersand
- Predator card game (The Forest Food Chain Game) - 2-6 players, age 7 and up. Ampersand
- One Hundred Hungry Ants, by Elinor J Pinczes
- A Remainder of One, by Elinor J. Pinczes
- The 512 Ants on Sullivan Street, by Carol A. Losi
Background For Teachers:
Ants are one of Earth’s oldest residents and play an important role
by maintaining a balance in nature. Ants are insects (six legs and three
body parts) that live and work together. There are over 8,000 species
of ants. Ants provide food for birds, other insects, and mammals. They
are scavengers that clean up dead plants and animals. Some large
animals live entirely on ants and other insects for their survival. Ants
help aerate soil by digging their many tunnels which in turn help us.
In some ways, ants and people are alike. Both ants and people take
care of their young, live together, have different jobs, and depend on
each other. Ants have all the senses that humans have but use different
body parts to achieve the same goals. Ants don't have ears; instead they
use their legs and antennae to feel vibrations. They use antennae to
hear, smell, and touch things. They talk or communicate by tapping
their antennae together. Ants have an exoskeleton (outer covering),
but have sensory structures all over their body so they know when
something is touching them. Ants don't have a tongue, but they have
finger like pulps around their mouths that have the ability to taste.
Unlike humans, ants have two stomachs; the second stomach is
filled and used to feed other ants. Ants have two types of eyes; one
set has many lenses, while the other set of eyes called “simple eyes”, allows them to judge light levels in the environment. Ants don't chew
their food; instead they use their powerful jaws to squeeze the juices
out of their prey and also to defend themselves. Each ant colony has
their own scent and can recognize an intruder. The soldier ants (larger
ants) defend those who try to invade. They also use this scent to track
food that their sisters have found.
An ant’s reproduction goes like this: The queen fertilizes the eggs
creating all females. Ants that are fed more in the larva stage are called
soldier ants. Once a year, the queen creates a male by not fertilizing
that egg and fertilizes other eggs to create females, one which will
become a princess. The eggs hatch within eight to 10 weeks. At this
time, the male ant and Princess ant, both having wings, fly away and
mate during flight. (Mating happens around the end of June until early
August and the female can mate with more than one male.) After
mating, the princess ant looses her wings, becoming a queen and
begins her own nest or colony. Male ants are created only as needed
for reproductive purposes and die shortly after mating.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Use science process and thinking skills.
2. Manifest science interests and attitudes.
6. Understand the nature of science.
5. Connect mathematical ideas within mathematics, to other disciplines, and to everyday experiences.
6. Represent mathematical ideas in a variety of ways.
Invitation to Learn
- Ask, “What do you think it is like to be an ant?”
- Ask, “How do ants impact our lives and our environment?”
- Say, “Today we are going to read, Hey Little Ant by Phillip and
- Order ants from the link below.
- After receiving the ants, place ants in their new environment
(ant farm habitat).
- Have students predict the changes that will occur as the ants
spend more time in their new environment with one another.
- Have students record their predictions in their Ant Journals.
- Have students observe, draw, and record in an Ant Journal
what they see (at least every other day) and write at least one
question they want to know about ants.
- Have a class discussion about ants and answer any questions the
students have about ants from their Ant Journal entries. (See
website for ant information.)
- Have students share their observations and what they find
interesting about ants to their classmates.
- Have students take time to write answers to their own questions
in their Ant Journals and ask any other question that they might
want to know for the next class discussion about ants.
- When ending the ant unit, have students go back and reflect
upon their predictions and observations and write a revision of
what they know.
- For a math activity use Measuring Ants and Ant Math Attack
allowing the students to explore fractions like thirds and using
addition, subtraction, and multiplication by cutting them up
and creating their own math problems. (Some examples are on
Ant Math Attack).
- Research the websites about ants listed in Additional Resources.
- Check out books and magazines on the subject.
- Make your own ant habitat.
- Do a written/oral report about ants.
- Read about ants from different resources.
- Have your family observe an anthill and place three different foods
a few feet away from the anthill (e.g. a cube of sugar, a cracker, and a
cookie). Predict which food they will go to first. Watch what the ants
will do and which food they seem to like the best.
- Have your family build an ant farm.
- Ant Journal entries-KWL- Response to ant farm observations.
- Check to see if student’s Ant Journal drawings change as ant
- Students will self reflect upon their predictions and observations
and write a revision of what they see.
Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L. & Cocking, R.R, (Eds.) (1999). How People Learn; Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
The authors explored the methodologies and barriers in
motivating young learners to enjoy and participate in classroom
science research and learning. They concluded that a standard-based
curriculum provides information on what students should learn
concluding that teachers make the curriculum accessible to students
through their choice of instructional materials, lessons, homework, and
types of assessment.
Louckes, S.H., Hewson, P.W., Love, N., & Stiles, K. (Eds.) (1998). Designing Professional
Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
In this study the authors identified three components
of effective professional development that nurture continuous
improvement: context, process and content. Professional development
requires careful planning with the needs of teachers being an integral
part of the process.
Created Date :
Jul 09 2007 10:09 AM