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Middle School "Wild Life Sharing"


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Offline futurebird - Posted February 10 2024 - 5:06 PM

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I'm going to bring my ants to the school where I teach (I teach HS but the presentation is for middle school) I have about 20 min or so. I plan on having some slides and discussing where ants live in NYC, how they contribute to the environment, their life cycle and how they reproduce. And showing some videos. I'm also going to bring in the carpenter ants and use a live camera to let them see inside the nest. 

 

So here is the help I need from you...

 

1. If you could teach middle school kids (Ages 9 to 13) one thing about ants what would you want them to know?

 

2. If you were a middle school kid what fact about ants would you find most exciting?

 

 


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#2 Offline Artisan_Ants - Posted February 10 2024 - 5:41 PM

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Well one fact I found really interesting is that ants are some of the most adaptive animals on the planet, found everywhere on the planet besides Antarctica. For your last fact, I would recommend this. Some species of ants can inbreed with their own “brothers” (or males) and become a new reproductive, without leaving the nest.
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#3 Offline AntidepressAnt - Posted February 10 2024 - 6:36 PM

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My suggestions:

1 - That ants are closed related to wasps and bees, but not to termites, which are closer to cockroaches (and more distantly, mantises). Talk a bit about the similarities and differences between these groups (the kind of wings, the life stages and so on).

2 - That bullet ants have the most painful sting in the insect world and are used by some indigenous tribes as part of initiation rituals.


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#4 Online Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted February 10 2024 - 7:40 PM

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probably a bit too deep a topic for such an age range, but ants excellent example to break common notions of conformity.

they are a "hive" species, yet each individual ant's personal sensing equipment (eyes/antennae) are unique, and do not exactly detect exactly the same things for them.

 

It takes longer term observation to really notice this. Bu it so goes against our common place notions of uniformity, and really demonstrate the true subjective nature of reality for us. i think it is amazing.

Watch a colony of ants for long enough and you will notice they do individually judge matters for themselves.

 

My best example is the ants who could not agree about where the trash pile should be, and spent about 48 hours moving the same bits of trash back and forth between two corners of an out worlds only 4 inches apart.

With some ants moving trash from left to right, while others were moving it from right to left at the same time.

 

 

Our reality could or could not be objective, from our subjective experience of it, we can't ever honestly know. And the ants nicely show us, not everyone one of the same group, will see things the same way.


Edited by Full_Frontal_Yeti, February 10 2024 - 7:41 PM.

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#5 Online bmb1bee - Posted February 10 2024 - 9:22 PM

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One of my cousins who came over to visit today, who was funnily enough in middle school, asked me "How does the queen lay eggs? Does she mate with her workers or something?" when I was showing my colonies off. It was a broad question, but I had a fun time explaining nuptial flights and how the system of a typical ant colony worked.

 

If I were a teacher, I'd show kids how interesting the internal structure of an ant colony is. There are plenty of pictures and examples online of aluminum castings of the nests of various species, including Solenopsis invicta and Formica sp. One of the more interesting examples is a concrete casting of an Atta nest, which had thousands of chambers and spanned over 60 meters across. Ant architecture is nothing to be scoffed at.


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#6 Offline ZATrippit - Posted February 10 2024 - 11:38 PM

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I think it's also necessary to discuss how invasive species of ants are REALLY invasive and what makes them so.
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FROM NEW ZEALAND YEAHHHHHH!!!!!!!Species I have:3x Iridomyrmex undescribed2x Ochetellus glaberFree Queen Ants- 100% Legit (not a scam):<p>https://blogs.mtdv.m...free-queen-ants

#7 Offline rptraut - Posted February 11 2024 - 11:09 PM

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Hello futurebird;

1. I would point out some of the positive impacts ants have had on the environment over millions of years. One fact that is often overlooked is the role ants play in soil formation. Those little ant hills may seem insignificant, but over thousands of years the subsoil ants bring up is mixed with organic matter and topsoil is formed. Along with earthworms and other organisms, ants have contributed greatly to the soil we depend on for our food today.

2. The thing I found most interesting when I was young was the change from egg to adult, but in particular the metamorphosis from larva to pupa. It always seemed shrouded in mystery inside a cocoon with butterflies. However, ants without cocoons allowed me to watch day by day as the larva changed into the pupa stage. I’m still amazed as I watch this process. I think your students will be too.
RPT
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My father always said I had ants in my pants.

#8 Offline Virginian_ants - Posted February 12 2024 - 3:22 PM

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As a former middle schooler you should add something that would keep them intrigued such as ant wars and maybe a video to go along with it. I always stopped paying attention after 5 minutes so add something to keep them engaged. But definitely add informational stuff.

#9 Offline ZATrippit - Posted February 12 2024 - 8:33 PM

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As a former middle schooler you should add something that would keep them intrigued such as ant wars and maybe a video to go along with it. I always stopped paying attention after 5 minutes so add something to keep them engaged. But definitely add informational stuff.


Wow, you must have lived a very cool life as a former middle schooler. I haven't made it that far yet. ;)

Edited by ZATrippit, February 12 2024 - 8:33 PM.

FROM NEW ZEALAND YEAHHHHHH!!!!!!!Species I have:3x Iridomyrmex undescribed2x Ochetellus glaberFree Queen Ants- 100% Legit (not a scam):<p>https://blogs.mtdv.m...free-queen-ants

#10 Offline Mushu - Posted February 17 2024 - 1:28 AM

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You're already including the life cycle of an ant as part of the presentation or I'd say that would be most interesting, the different stages of an ants life and how they are taken care of, including the queen founding stage. 

 

Other than that perhaps touch base on respecting ants as not just insects but as pets and perhaps about how invasive species got introduced and can affect local species, teach responsible anting young.


Edited by Mushu, February 17 2024 - 1:30 AM.





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