Ants as Insects
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Home Educaton Program

Ants as Insects

Grandma is making this section separate because there was quite a bit on the Insect part and there is quite a bit here. The part on ants is as follows:


                            " Those Amazing Ants! by Becky Daniel and Jo Jo Cavalline

Did you know that there are more than 10,000 different kinds of ants?

I may be hard to believe, but some ants can lift more than fifty times their own weight.
How much do you weigh? Multiply your weight by fifty. Think of something that weighs about the same as fifty times your weight. Draw a picture of this object.
If you were built like an ant, you could pick up that heavy object. put it above your head, and run with it. Amazing, isn't it?
Draw a cartoon of yourself lifting the object that is fifty times your weight.

Ants have a keen sense of smell and can find food my following a scent trail.
You, too, can follow a scent trail. Using an old bottle of perfume, have (someone) make a scent trail by dripping perfume on (something above the ground level ). Blindfolded, and on your hands and knees, try to reach the end of the trail by using your sense of smell.

Ants have compound eyes. Compound eyes allow them to precisely determine the angle of the sun's rays. This awareness of the sun's angle allows ants to navigate over unknown territory and return with food to their nest.
Draw a map of the way (to your home). Be sure to show north, south, east, and west. Could someone unfamiliar with your neighborhood use your map to find your house? How do compass directions help humans find their way?
Why do you think ants don't venture out at night to search for food?

Some ants milk an insect called an aphid, much like a farmer milks a cow. The ants stroke the bug's sides gently and wait for the sweet honeydew to appear.
Draw a cartoon of an ant milking an aphid.

The nurse ants care for the ant eggs. They watch the eggs from the egg stage, through the larve stage, until the young ants emerge. Some larvae can signal the nurse ants when they need them. When new ants leave the nest to search for food they sometimes get lost. Older workers will find these lost ants and carry them back to the nest.
Make a list of babies that are dependent on their mothers at birth. Make another list of babies that do not need their mothers when they are born.

Some ants raise mushrooms inside their nests. The ants cut and carry leaves to the nest to provide fertile soil for their mushrooms. Have you ever tasted a raw mushroom?

                            Mushroom Dip
1 package cream cheese                  1 Tablespoon minced green onion
1/2 cup sour cream                           1/4 pound finely chopped mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt

Mix together and chill. Serve with corn chips or crackers.

Some ants make slaves of other ants. They attack and steal young ants from other hives, take them back to their own hives, and make them do all their work.
Write a story that tells how you would feel if you were kidnapped and made to be a slave. Tell about how you might escape your captors.

Ants have suits of "armor" on the outside of their bodies, rather than skeletons.
Draw a picture of what you might look like if your skeleton was on the outside of your skin. Or, make a list of other animals that wear their skeletons on the outside.

Soldier ants are stationed at the entrance to the nest. They guard the nest and keep enemies away. These ants are larger than the workers. Cover a bulletin board with brown butcher paper. Draw an ant colony. You may want to include:
  • interlocking tunnels
  • soldier ants at the entrance
  • nurse ants attending the eggs
  • ants working in their mushroom garden
  • ants milking aphids
  • harvest ants making bread
  • slave ants
  • the queen ant


Ant Crafts

(On one page is a drawn big ant to put a paper face, hands, and shoes on.)

The Easter ant can arrive the day before vacation and leave a treat for all your (children). Treats are made from (a) small ant pattern. A black jelly bean is attached by a thumbtack to the body of the ant. Use tape to fasten them to (children's') clothes. Have fun with your ant treats. Try balancing them on your head or shoulder as you play dead ant. If they fall off, you are out. Let this ant become your pet ant. You then assume total responsibility for your ant. It must be with you at all times. If you leave your ant to wander, it becomes public property. Any other (person) gets to claim it and add it to their pet collection. Finders keepers, loosers weepers.

Halloween is a great time for ant masks. Be a hungry ant and make a fork and spoon to carry in each hand. Several (people) together may enjoy doing an ant play with their ant masks.

Have you been a good ant or a naughty ant? Because Anta Claus is coming to town. Make a Christmas list of an ant. Make Mr. and Mrs. Anta Claus.

Many more ideas will flow as you enter antland. It can so easily be applied to many different subject areas. Save all these ideas and new ones for another time!


                               Finding the Antswers to Questiants

All species of ants belong to the formicidae family. Using the basic ant pattern, invite each child to make his or her own ant and label or identify all its parts.

Questiant:Where do ants live?
Antswer: In colonies, the thirteen original perhaps.
Ants are social insects because they live together in "colonies." Using the thirteen original colonies, start a nation of ants. Draw the shape of the colony and the citizens of Massachusants, Rhode Islants, Pennsylvaniants, and so on. Draw a crown on the antennae of the governor of each state.

Questiant: What should do you do with an ant? Squish it?
Antswer: No, collect ants and study their personality. If you should find they need some, give them some of yours.
To collect ants, use a piece of white paper, plastic bottles with lids, and a piece of cardboard. Search outdoors under rocks for ant colonies. You will see many of the little harmless black and gray ants running around under rocks. Lay a bottle on its side and use the cardboard to guide the ants in. Scoop up some soil and spread it out on white paper. If you see an ant larger than the other ants, it is probably the queen. Take some extra soil with you in another bottle. You will need it for the ants' new home.
To build an ant nest, you will need a wide-mouthed glass jar; an empty tall, thin can; a sponge; black paper; and rubber bands. Place the can inside the jar. Pour the ants" soil between the two. Wet the sponge and place it across the top of the can. Place the ants on the soil and secure the lid. Wrap the jar with black paper and secure with rubber bands.

Questiant: Why the black paper?
Antswer: Ants like the dark and will build their tunnels close to the glass if it is dark there.
Place your jar in a shallow pan of water on a piece of wood. Place it in a warm place away from direct sunlight. Feed the ants with bread crumbs, bits of meat, drops of honey, sugar, and dead insects. After a few days, remove the black paper and find the antswers to any questiants you might have.
  1. What do the ants do?
  2. How do they communicate with each other?
  3. Do they know it is feeding time? Why?
  4. Why do they build tunnels?
(the bottom of this page shows to cartoon ants talking to each other)

During your observations be sure to sing the rhyming songs: "The Ants Go Marching One by One, Hurrah, Hurrah!"

"Our Antcestor"
Trace the basic ant pattern on black paper and cut it out. You may want to enlarge the pattern. Using scraps of paper, yarn, tissue paper, and whatever materials are available, dress your ant appropriately for your particular antcestor. If you are teaching social studies, make Abraham Lincant, George Washingtant, Benjamin Franklant, Ant Betsy Ross, Florence Nightantgale, and so on.

"Our Antimals"
Draw the face of an animal or cut out a picture from a magazine. Trace and cut out the basic ant pattern. Paste the animal face to the ant body. You may discover stegosaurant or Leo the liant. Put all your animals behind bars and display on a (wall) zoo.

"Dead Ant"
Choose two (children) to be the killer ants. They are "it." The chosen killer ants try to tag the other (children). The only way the (children) can be safe from them is to "freeze" with their antennae (arms) up in the air and say "dead ant." When a killer ant tags someone who wasn't fast enough to be a dead ant, that ant is captured and taken off to the ant prison (which is a certain spot in the room).


Activities
  • Declare National Ant Day: Take your ant to lunch and buy her a "MacAnt Sandwich."
  • Michael Jacksant, famous recording ant, is in dire need of material for his songs. Help him write a song and give it a hit title. This new hit could become your "family anthem."
  • Write tongue twisters incorporating the word "ant" in regular words: Indianta Jones is awfully antsome.
  • Write a recipe for "ant soup."
  • Write a conversation between two ants.
  • Pretend you are an ant that somehow got caught in a marching parade. How will you ever get out alive?
  • Make a board game to play with an ant theme.



(This next page has five jars that lists words of parts of the sentences: Nouns, Verbs, Pronouns, Adjectives, Adverbs

Directions:
Write the bold word in the correct jar.

One pretty day in the month of May
My friends and I went out to play.
We walked so slowly to the park;
There children laugh and puppies bark.
Hot dogs were toasting on the grill,
We smelled them as we climbed the hill.
The table setting by the stream
Was sure to be any picnicker's dream.
We found some cakes, salads, chips, pies,
They looked so glorious to our hungry eyes.
I discovered the chef asleep on a stool,
The grown-ups and kids took a swim in the pool.
We climbed on the table and just took a bite,
But one led to another, then oh! What a sight!
We ate such a feast, crumbs fell to the ground.
Not one of us noticed the approaching sound
Of the chef coming swiftly, his feet doing a dance,
The look on his face when he saw us--Black Ants!
We looked like an army, so quickly retreating,
Our bellies were full after all of that eating.
We marched to our colony, burrowed inside,
Until the next picnic--we'll stay here and hide.

(There are a list for eight Nouns; eight Verbs; six Pronouns; eight Adjectives; and seven Adverbs--maybe you can make more.

                                           "Ant"onyms

Read each sentence below. In the blank write the opposite of the word you see in parentheses.

  1. The bus left (early)___________________________for the school picnic.
  2. It was the (last)_______________________time we had gone to Holly Park.
  3. The children were (sad)___________________about going.
  4. (Few)_________________________boys and girls were singing songs.
  5. This was going to be a (short)_________________bus ride.
  6. Most of the seats on the bus were (empty)________________________.
  7. (None)______________of the children were glad it was Saturday.
  8. When the bus stopped, it was time to get (on)_____________________.
  9. The children (walked)______________to the picnic tables to eat.
  10. They ate their lunches (slowly)____________________.
  11. Ants crawled on the table where the (grown-ups)_________________ate.
  12. (Girls)_____________began to throw Frisbees.
  13. One girl tried to (throw)______________________it.
  14. (Before)____________________ they ate, it was time for a visit to the zoo.
  15. Most of the animals were (inside)_____________________________.
  16. The monkeys were the (quietest)________________________of all the animals.
  17. Later the kids (sold)________________________souvenirs.
  18. Several boys got on the (right)__________________bus.
  19. It was (morning)_____________________ when the children go back to school.
  20. The sky was beginning to get (light)___________________.

Circle the word in each row that is the opposite of the first word.

  1. messy                          sloppy, neat, dirty
  2. soft                               mushy, weak, hard
  3. pretty                            ugly, beautiful, lovely
  4. old                                worn, used, new
  5. smooth                          level, rough, flat
 

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