Activity: My Island Home (Teacher Version)
This is the teacher version of the My Island Home hands-on excercise. It is designed to teach students about the natural habitats of ants and how to create a suitable habitat for fire ants. This could be used in the classroom or for a youth's science fair project.
Students will observe ants in an island habitat, symbolic of their natural habitat.
Students will learn the requirements necessary for a habitat to be suitable for fire ants.
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) (other states may have similar systems)
- 3rd grade: 3.1.a, 3.1.b, 3.2.a, 3.2.b, 3.3.c, 3.8.a, 3.8.b, 3.8.c, 3.8.d
- 4th grade: 4.1.a, 4.1.b, 4.2.a, 4.2.b, 4.3.c, 4.5.a, 4.5.b
- 5th grade: 5.1.a, 5.1.b, 5.2.a, 5.2.b, 5.9.a, 5.9.b, 5.9.c
- Large bowl
- Floral foam or dense sponge
- For this activity, the students will need to be able to go outside to find live ants. Give them these instructions:
- Carefully cut a piece of floral foam or dense sponge to fit into the bowl (ask an adult to help you if needed).
- Cut the foam (or sponge) small enough so that it does not touch the sides of the bowl.
- Pour water into the bowl, 2 to 3 inches deep. Wait about 15 minutes for the water to be absorbed.
- While you are waiting, find an ant (or two) for your island. Where are going to look? Under a log or in a field might be a good place to start. Use a stick to transport the ant to the "island."
- You’ll need to supply the ant with food. What kind of food could you place on the island?
- You could also place some broken sticks into the foam, providing the ant with something to climb on in this artificial habitat you have created.
- Keep the water level at 2 to 3 inches deep to maintain the “island” effect. Observe the ant(s) and its activities.
Describe how this habitat is different from a natural habitat where ants are typically found.
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