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Join an ANT Colony!

6-7 yrs old

8-10 yrs old

11-13 yrs old

Science

Service Learning & Social Good

Social and Emotional Health

Discover how ants communicate and design and develop a complex society with a collective mindset. Be an ant with your class and make your own!

avatar Submitted By: Lynne Telfer

September 21, 2018

Skills

  • Citizenship
  • Collaboration
  • Project Based Learning

External References

A REAL Ant Colony Design

A wonderful example of what an ant colony really looks like!

All things Ants!

A lovely website showing the roles of the colony ants , feeding, communication, the nest and more.

*** THE ANT FARM WORLD ***

Feel free to download and use!

*** VIDEO - The DEMO Lesson ***

My class made a demonstration Ant Farm!

Learning Objectives

  • Science - Inquiry Skills - Planning and conducting - working collaboratively to decide how to approach an investigation
  • combine ideas in a variety of ways and from a range of sources to create new possibilities
  • assess and test options to identify the most effective solution and to put ideas into action
  • explore the roles of a typical ant colony with one Queen.
  • explore communication and "super mind" of an ant colony.
  • work collaboratively with peers to meet a common goal

Guiding Ideas

Who am I?

  • What species of ant are you and your ant brothers and sisters?
  • what food do we eat?
  • what kind of land do we inhabit?

What do I do?

  • What roles are available in the ant colony?
  • What does a typical ant colony look like? What are the chambers used for?

How will we communicate?

  • How do ants communicate?
  • How does the "super mind" of an ant work?
  • How can we simulate the communication system of an ant?
  • How do we ensure the safety of the collected food?
  • How to we look after the queen and the eggs?

How do we as a society relate to an ant colony?

  • How do we make and follow society rules?
  • Do we have our own "super mind" in our society?

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Preparation

Download the Ant Colony world. Open up and have ready for the students to enter but not just yet.

Project Introduction

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"So... you are an ant now. A cute homeless little ant! Don't worry! You are no alone. You have your brother and sister ants to help you! Before you make a new home as an ant colony, you will need to research a few things!"

First of all, what kind of ant are you?

The only thing you know for sure is you only have one queen! Find out what species you class would like to be! How are you all going to decide? What methods will you use to make a group decision?

This section will be a very interesting introduction to the concept of a single or "super" mind. If we find it difficult to make a decision, how do ants do it?

Once the students have discussed the species and the method they used to come up with an agreed answer, they need to look at the environment they love in.

Is it sandy? wet? dirt? cold? hot?

So what do these ants eat? leaves? seeds? insects?

[Now - here is the fun part! The world has a number of chests that store the food. You will see signs above them At the moment they contain sugarcane to represent leaves or seeds. Place anything in there that looks like the food they eat. Rotten flesh looks like meat or insects for example. The food will appear at the top of the ant farm for collection.]

Look at how ants communicate. How do they manage to do a complex task without talking? How can we replicate that? Do we not talk as we make the nest?

We know who we are and what we eat... now we need to organise roles. What jobs are available in the ant city?

Choose to be one of the following:

  • Sorry, you cannot be QUEEN. Standing around all day making eggs is boring role-play. We have a plan for the Queen!
  • WORKER
  • SOLDIER
  • PRINCESS
  • DRONE

Research what is expected of you and help your colony.

Student Activities

Ready? Enter the world!

[The students will enter and be placed in the little box. They will see a chest full of chests... They are in creative mode and that's ok. They cannot dig or leave that box. From this viewpoint they will be able to see the full giant ant farm! It is 80 by 80 blocks in size. It is 2D just lika an ant farm.]

Ask the students to share the chests around and use them to store eggs and food when necessary. Yes, they can get their own but this gets them started.

Place a minecart on the tracks and give it a push to get the food generators going. The food will start dropping at the top of the nest but the eggs will not work yet which is fine.

Fly to the top of ant hill and teleport all the students there! (/tp @a (yourname) )

Now come to the side and watch the fun!I have my computer linked to the big screen for this part - they can easily see the whole structure emerge.

The FIRST THING they MUST do! Make a chamber for the QUEEN and place a red block where the QUEEN is. Tell the teacher the coordinates of that block.

Now you can go into the command blocks and change the 0 0 0 to the coordinates of the queen.  Meal bone will now appear where the block was.  The Queen is laying eggs!

The group must now create the nest! Go go go!

[If you have classmode running, freeze them once in a while and ask them to analyse what is happening. Who is making the nursery? Who is looking after the eggs? Who is collecting food? Where will you place the dead ants? etc...]

At the end of the lesson, stand next to the nest and let the kids out! (/tp @a (yourname))

They can now make posters on the side of the nest to label everything that is happening! Label all the chambers. Include information about the roles of the ants.

[You or the students can take photos and download as a portfolio for assessment or further presentations.]

Now to a group photo with the ant nest in the background!

Reflection

  • How did we go?
  • Does it look like a real nest?
  • Did we complete all the chambers needed?
  • Did we all stay in ant character?
  • How did we communicate what we where working on? How powerful is a collective mind?
  • How do we determine our own rules and expectations in our society?
  • Do we have a similar collective mind?

 

Performance Expectations

  • I can work collaboratively with the class to complete a single group project.
  • I can research relevant information to assist with our project.
  • I can discuss the life of an ant.
  • I can discuss the roles of an ant.
  • I can discuss the  "super mind" of an ant colony and how it relates to our own society.

 

Skills

  • Citizenship
  • Collaboration
  • Project Based Learning

External References

A REAL Ant Colony Design

A wonderful example of what an ant colony really looks like!

All things Ants!

A lovely website showing the roles of the colony ants , feeding, communication, the nest and more.

*** THE ANT FARM WORLD ***

Feel free to download and use!

*** VIDEO - The DEMO Lesson ***

My class made a demonstration Ant Farm!