Ants are Amazing: Letter A

Ants are Amazing: Letter A


As we are enjoying summer break, most students are likely thinking about all the fun yet to come. There are probably not many that are working hard and preparing for the next school year already. This brings to mind some very tiny creatures that are already very busy working to prepare for the change in seasons. Even though they are very small, they have astonishing strength and an amazing work ethic. In fact, we could all learn something from these tiny giants and summertime is the perfect opportunity to do so.

 

Ants are Amazing

You have most likely guessed that we are talking about ants today. If you are looking for something fun and educational to do with your kids, keep reading!

Let’s start with some fun facts about ants. You could have your child do research online or go to the library and find books about ants. The idea is to learn more about ants than what they may already know. Here are some facts to get started:

  • "The ant is one of the world's strongest creatures in relation to its size. A single ant can carry 50 times its own body weight, and they’ll even work together to move bigger objects as a group!" (National Geographic Kids)
    • This is a great opportunity to calculate how much weight your child could carry if they had the ability to carry something 50 times their own body weight. Think about things that have that weight and discuss whether or not they could lift it.
    • This is also a great opportunity to talk about the importance of teamwork. Brainstorm ideas about difficult tasks that require the help of others. Have your child try to accomplish the task on their own, then have them work with others. Compare and contrast the experience of working alone versus working as a team. 

      SnapWords® TRY
  • "Researchers have indicated that an ant brain contains around 250,000 brain cells. Some scientists believe that ants have the largest brain among all the insects known to mankind." (Mom Junction)
    • Have your child find out how many brain cells humans have, as well as a few other creatures. What are brain cells and what role do they play? Have your child discuss what they think about their findings. 

      SnapWords® THINK
  • "The ant antennas are the keys to the mystery of their communication. With the help of an advanced system of pheromones they can “smell” a wide range of topics, ranging from colony activity to territorial conquest. To receive the messages they use their antennas, much the same way we would use our nose if blind and deaf." (AntKeepers)
    • Discuss the many different ways we communicate with each other, including non-verbal communication. Here are a few games/activities you can do together:
      • Have your child close their eyes, or use a blindfold, and provide various things for them to smell, then have them try to guess what it is.
      • With their eyes closed or blindfolded, give them instructions to follow and see how well they are able to follow your directions. (Make sure there is plenty of open space, free from hazards, to avoid injury.)
      • Try to communicate something to your child without using words; you could act it out or draw pictures.

        SnapWords® TALK

 

Field Study

Spend some time outdoors looking for ants. When you find them, study them carefully. (If you live in an area of the country that has fire ants, or other dangerous ants, please use caution. Take this opportunity to talk to your children about these types of ants and to learn more about them, from a safe distance of course!) Use a magnifying glass to get a closer look but be careful to not let the sun shine through the magnifying glass. Spend as much time as your child wants observing ants and discussing what they may be doing. They really are quite busy and fascinating creatures.

Ant Hill

 

Activities

After you have had some time to learn about ants and observe them in their environment, follow up with some fun hands-on activities. Here are a few to get you started:

  • For younger children this would be a great opportunity to introduce the letter A. For an engaging story, check out Alphabet Tales. Talk about how the shape of an anthill can be made with their own two hands, fingertips together, which is also the shape of an uppercase A. 

    Hand Motions for Letter A

  • Color and embellish an ant hill with ants. If you have time for a more involved project, make the letter A on paper and have the children brush glue with a Q-tip down the two sides and sprinkle sand on the glue. After the glue is dry, they may draw or glue the ants on their ant hill! Great outside project! Make your own or use these premade sheets.

  • Learn about the anatomy of the ant with this worksheet.

    Ant Anatomy Words

  • Use these ants for counting and place them in patterns to practice instant recognition of “how many” ants there are. The goal is to see visually how many rather than rote counting up. You could also print two or more sets and play a matching game or Go Fish.

  

Conclusion

Enjoy some summer fun learning and education while exploring amazing ants in their element. Try the ideas above and share some of your own in the comments. Perhaps you could pack a picnic lunch to enjoy while you are out…and maybe this time you might decide to share some with the ants!

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