Ants

Ants are an easy example of insect life to find just about anywhere.  Take a jar and shovel and go flip over a few logs or look near the sidewalk.  Dribble a bit of fruit juice or drop a piece of banana on the sidewalk a couple of hours before you want to find ants and they’ll have swarmed over the stick spot, making it easy to observe them.  Bring a few inside to look at them carefully under a magnifying glass.

Photo by MOs810, CC licence, WIkimedia

 Ant Parts

Draw and label the parts of the ants that you can see.  Include their three body segments  their six legs, the antennae, and the eyes.  Some ants have big mandibles which can bite and others have stingers on their tails.

Image by Pearson Scott Foresman, released to the public domain

Older kids can add much more detail than little ones.

Image by Mariana Ruiz, released to the Public Domain

Ants can be brown, gray, black, red or a combination.  Using an insect identification book see if you determine what kind of ant you have.

Life Cycle of Ants

Learn about the life cycle of an ant, how they live in groups, what they eat, where they can be found, and so on.  If you like you can keep an ant farm in your house for a time.  Several scoops of soil in a glass or clear plastic jar along with a some water and bread crumbs plus a scoop of ants will do.  The ants will dig tunnels all through the soil.  Observe them for several weeks as you learn about ants and other insects.

Image by ASU Ask A Biologist, http://askabiologist.asu.edu, CC license, Wikimedia

Additional Layers

  • Read the story of the ant and the grasshopper from Aesop.  Discuss what lessons the story teaches.
  • Make an ant craft.  Make sure you review the parts of an ant as you do the craft to reinforce the learning.
  • Read books about ants.

National Geographic Readers: Ants     Ant Cities (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)    Inside an Ant Colony (Rookie Read-About Science)    Insects: Revised and Updated (Golden Guide) 

  • Learn the letter “A” if you’re working with pre-schoolers or kindergarteners.
  • Make an alliterative sentence using the word “ant” and as many other “A” words as you can think of.  Talk about alliteration and how it is used in titles, ads, literature, store names, and so on for good effect.

More From Layers of Learning

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Unit 3-1 dives right into insects with great projects for kids.

Here is a printable life cycle of a spider worksheet.
Here is a printable life cycle of a spider worksheet.

This fun project is perfect for when you are studying butterflys
This fun project is perfect for when you are studying butterflys

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