Ants [by Amanda Crowley].
Ant is the name for social insects of the family Formicidae, in the order HYMENOPTERA, which also includes bees and wasps. They live in organized colonies and there are more than 12,000 species of ants all over the world. In most species males have wings for their entire lives while females are winged only until after mating. The male dies after mating and the fertilized female becomes queen of the colony, while the workers (infertile females) gather food, care for the young and take care of the colony. The ant body consists of head, thorax, and abdomen and the abdomen is connecting to the thorax by a stalk. The four life stages of an ant are egg, larva, pupa, and adult. They eat wasps, insects, dead birds or mice, green flies, or other sugar giving animals. Ants help the environment. They help control the population of damaging pests such as termites. Types of ants include fire ants, which cause a painful sting, and carpenter ants, which damage wood structures while nest building. Other types of ants include honey, pharaoh, house, Argentine, and the thief ant.
Observations[There are noticeable differences between my drawings (previous page) of an ant to these digital pictures (left), to the Bugscope (right) pictures. Just looking at an ant on the ground, you don’t notice the incredible detail you can see through the Bugscope lens. The detail is depicted right down to the tiniest hair!]
1. Related Literature/Writing Activity: Read Chris Van Allsburg's Two Bad Ants. Observe how ordinary objects look from an ant's perspective. Discuss what your homes and classroom might look like to the bugs that enters them. Have students illustrate and write on the theme pattern a simple story about a bug's adventure in a classroom or home and include this in their insect journal.
Discussion:1. How do things look from an ant's perspective? Are things big or small?
2. Describe what your home would look like to an ant.
3. Describe what your classroom would look like to an ant.
Evaluation: Observation of participation and individual insect journal entries.
2. Related Literature/Art Activity: Materials: Markers, crayons, colored pencils, paper Read to the class More Bugs in Boxes by David A. Carter. Encourage children to draw their own make-believe bug on a theme pattern. Suggest that they give it a funny name and write (or dictate) a funny fact about it. For example: The Flider: A Flider is a spider with wings. It can catch flies in mid-air!
Discussion:1. If you could be any kind of bug, real or make believe, what would you be?
2. What would you do during the day? At night?
3. What is the craziest thing you'd do as an insect?
Evaluation: Informal observation of participation and bug drawings.