Ants can teach us a lot about hard work and working together.
The third part of our Spring Life Cycles Unit covers all about ants. Our classroom has a little ant farm that my scholars love to watch as the Harvester Ants work to build their maze of tunnels. It offers a new perspective to the underground world. By offering magnifying glasses, these tiny red creatures can be closly observed as they work.
Bringing out an activity from my own childhood, makes it fun for both my scholars and myself.
Don't underestimate vintage activities and games. There are many being remade for good reason. Simple hands-on activities and games provide wonderful fine-motor and hold a young child's interest. I like to bring out several from my own childhood, that my scholars really enjoy.
Adding my own slight twist to a oldie but goodie game helps tie it into the theme.
'Cootie' is a game that I have the vintage and remade version of. I mix the pieces, since there is a slight variation in design. It gives more choices for my scholars during the activity. Using the 'Cootie' game pieces, my scholars roll a foam die to build an ant. This activity can be for a single student or more than one, depending on the amount of pieces you have. I have card labels for the tray sections, that helps my scholars understand the parts of an ant for each number.
Three-Part Cards can be used two ways.
The life cycle of an ant is reinforced through three-part cards. I use these Montessori cards two ways, to help differentiate between age/skill levels of my scholars: matching the cards and labels, and matching the ant life cycle figures to the cards.
Recording observations help children to describe what they see.
As children observe the work of the ants in the farm, have them describe what they see on an observation page. Adding this writing and drawing work helps to bring in a fine-motor, literacy and art component to the science center.
An ant themed sensory table is a wonderful way to tie in the lesson, at another center in your classroom.
My last blog post was on our Ant Hill Sensory Table. Since handling live ants isn't an option, I have a sensory table with ant figures. Click HERE to be taken to that post.
Several children's books can be found on ants and the ant life cycle.
Out of the many books and fictional stories on ants, I have pictured four: 'Hey, Little Ant' by Phillip and Hannah Hoose, 'The Life Cycle of an Ant' by Hadley Dyer, 'Are You an Ant?' by Judy Allen, and 'If I Were an Ant' by Amy Moses.
Click the image below to be taken to my Insects: Ants Life Cycles Science Pack:
My Amazon Picks for the lesson on ants are: