Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Will the Ants Eat?

Last week we found a whole bunch of pill bugs under some rocks in our playground, and ever since then the class has been all about bugs. Every time we go outside we turn over all of the rocks to look for bugs, though the bugs seem to have learned their lesson as we never find them under the rocks anymore.
Still, we look for bugs outside every day and yesterday we found some ants marching around looking for food. We wondered what kind of food the ants would like to eat and decided to find out. I put together bits of random food that we had in the classroom to make an ant food platter.
Before taking it outside, the children predicted what they thought the ants would eat. Then we took the ant food platter to the spot where the ants were crawling around. We took everything off the plate, except for the honey, and put the food in different spots around the ants.
After watching for a few minutes, the children realized that the ants weren't going to start eating right away, so they went off to do other things. Every few minutes someone would check on the ants to see if they had started eating yet. After about ten minutes one little ant found the apple slice.
Everyone was very excited! As we watched, the ants also found the goldfish and the honey.
We left the food out during nap time and came back to look at it in the afternoon. It turned it that once the ants found the honey, they forgot about the other food and all starting feasting on the delicious, sweet honey.
I printed out a picture of the food we had put out and typed up the predictions the children had made before the activity, and hung both in the science center. I also wrote down the outcome of the experiment. The children kept coming to the center to "read" about the experiment. They were also very excited to show it to their parents later in the day.
This experiment made such an impression that the children started talking about it again first thing this morning. So I came up with this art project to go along with the science project.
I made paper cut-outs of the foods we gave to the ants and let the children glue them onto construction paper. Then I gave them black paint and showed them how to make fingerprint ants. It didn't matter that the pictures weren't exactly accurate. What is important is that the class was learning about the scientific process by making predictions, experimenting, and recording their findings!

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