Our Wonderful World by Emery Lewis Howe is a rich nature study book available for free download covering backyard neighbors, feathered friends, garden life, four-footed comrades, and the earth and its neighbors. By covering one chapter a week, there are 32 weeks worth of lessons. Enjoy the complete series!
Ant Workers (Part II)
We’re in Part I of the book, Back-Yard Neighbors, which covers earthworms, ants, spiders, honey bees, and butterflies and moths. “Ant Workers” is broken up into two parts. This lesson is continued from Lesson II and focuses on the ant’s life cycle, habits and anatomy.
- Make a chart showing the ant’s life cycle. You’ll find helpful resources below.
- View a closeup of an ant’s head to see the feelers.
- View a closeup of ants communicating.
- Something to do #1: This graphic from Animal Planet shows the relative sizes between the queen, male and worker ants and can be used to make the scale drawing in the notebook. You’ll find other helpful resources below.
- Something to do #2: The student can make a page in his notebook to list the “helpful parts of the ants’ work.” An older student could write an essay comparing and contrasting the helpful part of the ants’ work and the undesirable part of the ants’ work (at least from the human standpoint) using this interactive Compare and Contrast Map.
- Something to do #3: A narration (written or oral) can be a good substitute.
- Something to do #4: Have the student make a list of the lessons we can learn from the ant.
- Use the Bible verse listed for copywork or dictation. You may also want to have your students memorize Proverbs 6:6-8.
- More of the ant’s story from the Book of Knowledge:
Instead of making a cell for each egg, as bees and wasps do, ants keep their eggs in groups in fairly large rooms in their nests. The workers take very good care of the brood of young ones, moving them about in the nest to find the best conditions of moisture and temperature and cleaning them with their mouths. The young ants (larvae) are fat white grubs. Worker nurses feed them various foods according to the habits of the particular kind of ant.
Larvae of some ants spin silken cocoons in which to pupate (change to adult ants). Others lie inactive but naked. It is these cocoons or these naked pupae that we see the workers carrying when we disturb an ant nest. The eggs are too small to be noticeable, though the workers carry them, too. Ants can easily pick up their eggs, larvae and pupae and carry them out of danger or move them from one nest to another….
When a larva is ready to spin its cocoon, worker ants bury it in the ground. Burying is necessary because the chubby, legless larva needs something on which to fasten its silken thread as it begins to spin. The silk flows from the larva’s mouth, not from the abdomen as spiders spin silk. The workers seem to know when the cocoon is finished. They then dig it up, clean it off and carry it to some suitable place in the nest. After a few days the new adult ant within is ready to emerge. Again the workers know when to help. They cut open the cocoon and free the new adult, which is feeble and very pale in color. Gradually it darkens and gains strength; soon it is at work in the colony.
“The Ant Family,” The Book of Knowledge
- The Ways of the Ant
Ready to go outdoors? The Handbook of Nature study covers ants beginning on page 369.
Ant Life Cycle
From Arizona State University.
Basic information including anatomy from Enchanted Learning.
Closeup of a black ant head. See the feeler?
An article from Answers in Genesis explaining how they communicate.
“The Ants and the Grasshopper”
An Aesop story illustrating Proverbs 6:6-8. (See pg. 34)
It’s An Ant’s Life by Ant, with help from Steve Parker
A family favorite! The story of an ant — told from the perspective of an ant. Reads like a lavishly illustrated journal. Very instructional with a surprising depth of information, but told in a light and entertaining way.
Don’t spend the prices being asked for this now out-of-print book (ouch!), but if you happen to find a copy in your local library, your family will likely enjoy it!
Units & Lesson Plans
Go to the Ant Lesson Plan
A simple lesson on ants based around Proverbs 6:6. From Heart of Wisdom.
Ant Anatomy Activity
Fill in the blank. Answers on page two. Great for notebook!
Ant Life Cycle Notebooking Page
Also from Arizona State University.
Ants Unit Study and Lapbook
41-page download from Homeschool Share that has all types of foldables, photos and worksheets. Goes very well with our ant study!
View all of the lessons in the series.