Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ants on Parade & Spider Web Wonders

We began our day by discussing ant behavior and characteristics. We read a wonderful book called Those Amazing Ants by Patricia Brennan Demuth. In this detailed and informative picture book, the author describes the ant's colonies and various chambers they build underground-used for things like a nursery or food storage and even a place for sick and injured ants.

Did you know that all the ants you see walking around are female? These are called female workers. Some females take care of the eggs and larva. Other ants are busy finding food and others are like soldiers, capturing enemies and making them slaves.

The male ants have wings, mate with the queen and then die. They are not around for very long.
As scientists, we conducted an experiment to see which foods ants would most likely eat? We placed wild raspberries, bread, chicken and sugar water on paper plates and placed them in the garden, in the grass and out back on the trail. The 2 popular ant locations proved to be the trail and the yard and the ants seemed to be eating all food items equally!

Next, we learned about spiders and their homes. We talked about the difference between an insect and a spider. Insects have 3 main body parts (head, thorax, abdomen) with 6 legs and 2 antennae. Arachnids, or spiders, have 2 main body parts (cephalothorax and abdomen) with 8 legs and many eyes.

For a snack we ate spider crackers! We spread cream cheese, hummus or peanut butter on round crackers and placed another cracker on top. We tucked pretzel sticks into the edge of the cracker sandwich to make 8 legs. Then we used another round cracker for the abdomen.

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