Ants Day 1: Ant Anatomy

For our fist day of our ant unit study we studied ant anatomy.  We learned that like all insects ants have 3 main body parts; head, thorax, and abdomen.  We made a craft, played with math, read some books, and had some writing activities.

Ant Anatomy

Discuss:

Ants are usually 2-7mm long. Ants, like all insects, have 6 jointed legs, three body parts (the head, thorax and abdomen), a pair of antennae, and a hard exoskeleton. The exoskeleton is made up of a material that is like our fingernails. Ants can be many colors from yellow to brown to red to black.

HEAD

  • Feelers or Antennae – to touch and smell with
  • Mandibles (jaws) – to carry, dig, defend and eat with
  • Compound eyes -to see many of the same thing with
  • Brain – to process with (ants have the largest brain among all insects)

THORAX (OR TRUNK)

  • 6 legs – with a sharp claw on each end
  • Tarsi (feet) – small hooks on feet to help the ant walk up trees

ABDOMEN (OR METASOMA)

  • Stinger – the common Black Ants and wood Ants have formic acid instead
  • 2 stomachs – one for the ant and one for the colony
  • Scent gland – emits chemical odors that the ant uses to mark trails

Read:

Tiny Workers by Nancy Loewen

Comprehension Questions:
  1. What are the three body parts of an ant (and all insects)? Head, thorax and abdomen
  2. What are the mandibles used for? to carry, dig, defend and eat with
  3. How many legs does an ant have? Six
  4. What are the ants antennae used for? To touch, smell, talk and feel with
Clothespin Ant
Discuss:
An ant has 3 body parts head, thorax, and abdomen. On the head are the feelers or antennae for touching and smelling with. The head also has compound eyes which have many tiny lenses. The thorax has 6 legs with a sharp claw on each end and these help the ant climb better and run fast.IMG_0326
Materials:
  • Black paint
  • paintbrush
  • clothespin
  • black pipe cleaner
  • 3 large black buttons
  • glue
  • googly eyes
Directions:
  1. Paint your clothespin black.
  2. Thread a 4-inch-long black pipe cleaner stems through the two holes of a large black button.
  3. Twist and curl the ends of pipe cleaner stems where they meet to form antennae.
  4. Glue googly eyes just below the antennae.
  5. Next, cut three 3-inch pieces of black pipe cleaner for each pair of legs.
  6. Have your child help you thread all three though the spring hole in the clothespin and adjust to form the legs.
  7. Glue the face and two more black buttons to the top of the clothespin.
Ant Anatomy
Review:

HEAD

  • Feelers or Antennae – to touch and smell with
  • Pinchers – to carry, dig, defend and eat with
  • Compound eyes – to see many of the same thing with
  • Brain – the better to process with

THORAX

  • 6 legs with a sharp claw on each end

ABDOMEN

  • Poison sac
  • Stinger – the common Black Ants and wood Ants have formic acid instead
  • 2 stomachs – one for me and one for the colony

Directions:

We used the Ant Anatomy Activity sheet to help with this review.

Adding Ants

Directions:
  1. Use a piece of construction paper to write the combination answer in the middle circle (6),
  2. and all the “legs” are the possible ways you could reach that number (2+4, 4+2, 6+0, 33+3, 1+5, 1+5)IMG_0316
  3. Use tiny plastic ants to help demonstrate each combination.
Ant Talk

Discuss:

Ants express themselves by using these senses.
TOUCH- Ants tap one another with their antennae to announce the discovery of food and to ask for food.
SMELL- They emit pheromones that other ants smell through their antennae. This warns them of danger, says hello, or helps others to work harder.
SOUND- When they are trapped, they rub the joint between their waist and abdomen to make a squeaky sound that other ants hear through their legs.
TASTE- They exchange food with other ants mouth to mouth. This sharing of nutrition and chemicals says, “We’re Family!”

Directions:

We used page 36 and 37 of this download for our Ant Talk activity.IMG_0312 IMG_0313 IMG_0314