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Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#3253. All About Ants

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Mon Oct 11 11:32:32 PDT 2004 by Tara Ulery (
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Johnstown, USA
Materials Required: Book, “Those Amazing Ants,” clay, pipe cleaners, jar of ants, plastic insects, poster of an ant
Activity Time: 30-40 min
Concepts Taught: 3 body segments of ants, feelers, and their importance to the ants

Academic Standards: Environment and Ecology/Ecosystems and their interactions- 4.6.4-Identify plants and animals with their habitat and food sources, Identify animals that live underground.

Objectives: The student will be able to:
• List the number of legs (6), body segments (3), and antennae (2) of an insect, in particular, an ant.
• Explain verbally why ants’ legs and antennae are important (they are able to crawl around and find food with their legs, and are able to communicate and find food with their antennae).
• Create their own ant with the correct number of body segments, legs, and antennae out of clay, and pipe cleaners.

Subject Integration: Art, Math

Materials: Book, “Those Amazing Ants,” clay, pipe cleaners, jar of ants, plastic insects, poster of an ant

Vocabulary: Insect, feelers

Instructional Procedures:

Anticipatory Set: Ask students what they know about ants (where they live, what they look like, etc). Read them the book, “Those Amazing Ants.” It talks all about ants, where they live, what they eat, and more. After the book is over, ask them what they thought was neat or interesting, or something they learned.

Developmental Activities:
• First, show they class a diagram of an ant, and go over each specific part. Point out the three body segments, having them repeat the number out loud.
• Mention how many legs insects have (6), and point them out on the diagram. Tell the class why the insects need their legs (they are able to move very easily over the ground, rocks, and leaves. They have to travel to other places to get food, too.)
• Point to the antennae on the poster. Tell the class that the reason why they have feelers. The feelers pick up smells. They help the ants find food easily. They just sniff out different smells, and find their food. Ants also use their feelers to talk with other ants.
• Pass around different plastic insects (grasshopper, ant, ladybug, bee, and a fly), and point out that they all have 6 legs, 3 body segments, and 2 feelers. Let them pass the insects around the room, asking them to look and see if they can find the characteristics that were just mentioned.
• Ask the class if a spider that has 8 legs is considered an insect. Tell them why it is not an insect.
• Show the class a jar with ants in it. Pass it around and let them see what the ants look like, telling them to look for the 3 body parts, 6 legs, and feelers.
• Ask if anyone has any questions about what they just learned.

• The students will have the opportunity to create their own ant out of clay and pipe cleaners. First, each student will receive a baggie of clay, 6 pipe cleaners for legs, and two shorter pipe cleaners for feelers. Before handing out materials, go over the directions with the class in detail. Tell them to make 3 segments for the body, and attach the six legs and, the two feelers to the body, just like the poster on the board.
• Let the children make the body parts of an ant, and add the legs and feelers. Walk around the room to observe how the children are doing with their ants.
• Allow the class to share their ants with the others at their table.
• Review the key concepts they learned today after they are done. Go over the parts of the ant such as the legs, feelers, and body parts and what they all do for the ant (the legs help ants move around well, and the feelers help the ants find food and communicate with one another).

• Listen to the students’ answers to the review questions to make sure they understand.
• Listen to the students talk to their group when showing their ant they created.

Special Needs Adaptations: Child with ADD/ADHD: Don’t make the actual lesson too long so the child has to sit for a long period of time. Also, allow the child to help pass out the materials needed for the activity so they have a chance to stand up and walk around.

Extension or enrichment: Go outside with the students and find an ant farm. Dig up some ants and make an ant farm to observe and take into the classroom. Every day, students can look and observe what the ants are doing.

Technology Integration:
• One computer in the classroom- Go to the website, which is all about ants. Show the class different pictures on the overhead of ants (how they work, what an ant farm looks like, how they carry food, etc). The pictures will be very interesting and will catch the students’ attention.
• Six computer in the classroom- Demonstrate for the students how they are to go to the website in order to see a live video of an ant farm. Students will be in small groups so everyone can see a computer. They can also help each other out, too.
• Every child has a computer in the classroom- Show the students on the overhead how to get to the website: Once they are there, allow them to play games in which they are counting with ants.