Students will read and observer ants to discover how ants are the same and different than people.
One per class:
- 3' x 5' butcher paper
mural with ant hill,
tunnels, rooms, grass
and sky (see
- Ant Cities, by Arthur Dorros
One per student:
- Ant Cities, by Arthur Dorros; ISBN 0064450741
- What Is an Insect?, by Susan Canizares and Mary Reid;
- Backyard Detective, by Nic Bishop; ISBN 0-439-51839-3
- The World of Ants, by Melvin Berger; ISBN 1-56784-008-6
Background for Teachers
Our backyards are full of animals. Insects are everywhere and come
in many sizes, shapes, and colors. They eat, have homes, and have
specific characteristics. Ants are insects. Ants have three body parts: the
head, thorax, and abdomen. Ants are like people in many ways. Have
several books about ants available.
Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude.
5. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
To create interest in learning about ants, the teacher guides the class
in a discussion about how ants are different and the same as people.
These ideas should be listed on a chart divided in half with the headings “How We Are the Same” and “How We Are Different.” After students
have given initial observations, additional questions can be asked.
- Do ants have homes similar to ours?
- Do ants take care of their young?
- Do ants have jobs?
- Do ants have babies?
- How do ants get their food?
- Are ants strong?
- Read Ant Cities by Arthur Dorros.
- Have students add ideas to the chart on how ants are the same
and different than people.
- Model the three parts of an ant.
- Make a class mural of an ant city. Prepare the background for
the mural using butcher paper. It should include an underground
view of the different rooms, tunnels, ant hill, top grass, and sky.
- Give each student a 3” x 3” piece of white construction paper.
Students will draw their own ant, including the three body
parts, with crayons. Have each student cut out his/her ant and
place it anywhere that is appropriate on the mural.
- Have the class work together to label each room and review its
- Start a classroom ant farm. See Additional Resources for
Additional Math Activities
- Pass out the Ant City handout. Each room has a
number in it. Have students count out the correct number of
plastic ants for each room. Switch with a partner to check
each other’s papers.
- Have students play Who Can Find the Anthill. Each
student has his/her own handout. Place one plastic ant on each
numbered starting spot. Each student rolls a die. Whichever
ant is on the corresponding number is moved one stepping
stone toward the anthill. Game continues in this manner until
an ant reaches the anthill.
- Use plastic ants for different addition or subtraction activities.
Additional Language Arts Activities
Make a class book entitled, An Ant Can.
- Brainstorm with the class all the different activities ants do.
List these on the board.
- Have each student chose one idea. Give each student a piece
of construction paper. Have students use an ant stamp to
illustrate a picture.
- Label the page: An ant can __________.
||take out trash
- Create a cover and bind all the pages together.
Small Motor Activities
- Use Model Magic to sculpt an ant. Remember to have three
- Use markers to paint it.
- Invite students to begin to look for different insects that may be in
their backyard. Have them bring them to school in appropriate
- Have students practice writing words that use the “an” family
(e.g., fan, can, man, etc.).
As students engage in each activity observe their understanding of
how ants live. Math activities assess counting, one-to-one
correspondence, and number recognition. Writing skills and beginning
sounds can be assessed as students make and read the class book.