Ants Day 4: Ant Colony

Today we learned about the ant colony and did a science experiment outside. J loves science so we try to fit it in everyday that we can. We also had a fun ant hill craft and snack. T loves snacks, but I try not to make too many sweet ones!

Ant Colony

Discuss:

How an Ant Colony Starts:

  1. After hot summer rain, a young queen takes off on her wedding flight. She flies into a cloud of male ants and mates in the air.
  2. Afterward, all the males die, and the queen returns to the earth. She breaks her wings off by rubbing them on the ground.
  3. Then she digs a hole in the soft, moist earth and starts laying eggs. She will never leave the nest again.
  4. During the next 3 months, the eggs develop through four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult ant.
  5. After they have hatched, the first workers assume the duties of the colony– searching for food and protecting the queen.

Most ant species build underground nests. Worker ants dig tunnels and chambers, in the soil. Workers add more tunnels and chambers to the nest, as the colony grows. If you watch ants closely, you will see that they really do communicate with each other! Ant colonies can grow to be quite large. Some tropical ants build downward to make more rooms. Their nests can reach twenty feet deep. A group of nests can cover an area as large as a tennis court. Millions of ants can live in the big nests.

Chambers-

  • The queen has her own chamber for laying eggs.
  • Some chambers are nurseries for the growing young ants.
  • Food is stored in other chambers.
  • Still other chambers are resting places for hard-working ants.

Read:

Ant Cities by Arthur Dorros

Thinking Skills:

  1. In economics, what does it mean to be interdependent? People are interdependent when they depend on each other to provide the goods and services they use.
  2. In what way does an ant city illustrate interdependence? The ants in an ant city have certain jobs.They all depend on each other  for survival.
  3. What are some of the special jobs done by the ants? Queen – lays eggs; Workers – do all the work in the ant city and also fight to protect the nest
  4. What would happen if the different types of ants didn’t do their special jobs? The ants could not survive unless they worked together.
  5. What are some of the special jobs in your city or community that people do? Teachers, electricians, pastors, doctors, mail carriers, police officers, farmers, store owners, etc.
  6. How do these people in your community depend on one another? The people in the community have certain jobs. Then, they exchange the money they earn and pay others for the goods and services that are provided. All of us are interdependent in that we rely on others to provide most of the goods and services we use.
  7. Is it good to be interdependent? Specializing in production and then trading to get the goods and services one wants does make production more efficient, providing society with more goods and services. Usually, this is good for everyone. But sometimes interdependence can be troublesome. For example, our country relies heavily on oil produced from other countries. In most cases, that is not a problem, but when there is political instability, prices may rise dramatically and our dependence becomes very costly.

Ant Hill

Materials:

  • Brown Construction Paper
  • Black and White Paint
  • Paint Brush

Directions:

  1. Cut out the brown paper in the form of a hill.
  2. Paint black ant tunnels going down and side to side. Let it dry.IMG_0423
  3. Use your finger to make fingerprint ants with white paint on the black tunnels.IMG_0425
  4. Then J wanted to decide what room would be best for each of the ant rooms so I wrote down what he decided.IMG_0431

Study Ants

Directions:

  1. Go for a walk and look for ants. What are they doing? Follow them back to their homes. IMG_0428 IMG_0429
  2. Have the child divide the plate into fourths with a marker. IMG_0424
  3. Set out a plate of 4 different foods (9 pieces/ crumbs of each food) near the anthill (away from the house). Predict what they will like the best.IMG_0430
  4. At the end of the day go out and check up on the plate to see if any ants have come for a meal. What did they like best? IMG_0434 IMG_0444
  5. We used this Ant Graph that I had in my files to record the results.IMG_0445

Ant Hill In A Cup

Materials:

  • Clear plastic cups
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Graham crackers
  • Ziploc bag
  • Chocolate sprinkles

Directions:

  1. First put a layer of chocolate pudding into the cup for the “dirt”.
  2. Then crush up graham crackers in a plastic ziploc bag and poured the crumbs into the cup for the anthill “sand”.
  3. Last, they added chocolate sprinkles for the “ants”.IMG_0438

Ant Unit Study

Day 1: Ant Anatomy

Day 2: Ant Life Cycle

Day 3: Ant Jobs

Day 4: Ant Colony

Day 5: Types of Ants

Day 6: Ant Enemies