Lesson of the Day: ‘Let Us Now Praise Tiny Ants’

Lesson Overview

Featured Article: “Let Us Now Praise Tiny Ants” by Brooke Jarvis, images by Eduard Florin Niga

“Even in the densest human habitations, there are orders of magnitude more ants than there are of us, doing the hard work of making our crumbs disappear,” writes Brooke Jarvis.

In at the moment’s featured article, Ms. Jarvis marvels at a brand new e-book of ant images by Eduard Florin Niga that gives a window into a greater understanding and appreciation of our tiny and ample pals.

In this lesson, you’ll be taught extra about ants and rethink what you realize and the way you’re feeling about them. In Going Further actions, we invite you to conduct your personal firsthand observations of ants and to one other side of our world that you just suppose we overlook as a result of of its dimension.


How a lot are you aware about ants? Test your information with this quiz:

1. How many species of ants are there in the world?

a) 25
b) 100
c) three,000
d) At least 15,000

2. Ants breathe via their .

a) noses
b) ears
c) legs
d) spiracles (the pores of their exoskeletons)

three. True or false: Queen ants are born queens.

a) True
b) False

four. Ants are _____.

a) full pacifists, avoiding all battle or preventing
b) surprisingly neighborly, cooperating with different colonies of ants to dig tunnels
c) fairly warlike with armies of ants usually endeavor enormous, lethal turf wars
d) occasional cranky, particularly once they don’t get sufficient sleep

5. Ants have lived on Earth for .

a) 500 years
b) round 300,000 years, since trendy people first appeared
c) 150 million years
d) since the planet shaped four.5 billion years in the past

How do you suppose you probably did? Does the quiz assist you to understand your tiny neighbors a bit extra? What questions on ants do you continue to have?

Now, learn the article to search out the solutions.

Questions for Writing and Discussion

Read the article, then reply the following questions:

1. Brooke Jarvis, the author, says most people see ants as a formless, faceless mass. Does that ring true for you? Why do you suppose individuals overlook life-forms which might be small in dimension?

2. Ms. Jarvis argues that as a substitute of a faceless mass we must always admire ants for his or her nice variety. What proof does she supply to assist this view?

three. Ms. Jarvis writes that it’s obscure and admire the proven fact that there are orders of magnitude extra ants than there are of us. How would you attempt to get a category of third graders to understand this mind-boggling actuality?

four. Look at the pictures of ants featured all through the article: What do you discover? What do you marvel? Which pictures do you discover most fascinating or shocking? How do the close-up pictures assist you see ants in a brand new mild, if in any respect?

5. Although ants could look unusual to us, scientists level out that their various options make them well-suited to their environments. Describe no less than two ways in which ants have tailored to their environments for survival, in response to the article.

6. Return to the quiz you took in the warm-up. How many solutions did you get proper? What are two new belongings you discovered about ants? What questions do you continue to have?

7. After studying the article, do you suppose you’ll take a look at ants in a different way? Do you agree with the writer that we must always reward our tiny neighbors? Why or why not?

Going Further

Option 1: Observe ants.

Go discover some ants and watch them!

Yes, merely watch them for some time. On the sidewalk, in your yard, wherever you’ll find them, simply plant your self beside them and observe. (This is the foundation of most good scientific inquiry — commentary.) Be certain to take good notes.

If you may’t discover ants the place you reside, you would possibly watch them on-line on the Iowa State University Insect Zoo Ant Cam.

Then, reply to the following prompts:

What do you discover? What attention-grabbing conduct or patterns did you observe?

What do you marvel? What additional questions on ants and their conduct arose out of your observations?

Finally, assessment your commentary notes after which formulate an “investigable question”; develop a speculation or design an experiment for additional examine.

Option 2: Watch a ScienceTake video.

How do ants keep away from site visitors jams? Why do ants go to struggle? What makes them such good architects?

From 2013 to 2019, The Times usually revealed weekly ScienceTake movies, quick movies that mixed cutting-edge analysis from the world of science with beautiful footage of the pure world in motion. Over this span, The Times created practically a dozen movies on ants. Choose one movie to look at under after which reply to the following prompts:

What new issues did you study ants? What moments stood out? What did you discover most fascinating or shocking? How did the video add to or change your understanding or perspective on the life and conduct of ants? What questions do you continue to have about the tiny creatures we share our world with?

How Ants Get a Taste for the Trail

How Ants Avoid Traffic Jams

Ants That Make Progress Backward

The Physics of Ants

The Very, Very Clean Ant

War of the Ants

The Great Ant Escape

Ants Can Build an Eiffel Tower (Sort Of)

Tournament of the Ants

Ant Obstacle Course

Option three: “Let Us Now Praise Other Small Things” — one thing missed as a result of of its dimension.

What issues do you’re taking as a right as a result of of their dimension or ubiquity — sidewalks and roads, phone or electrical strains, the blades of grass beneath your toes, the clusters of clouds above you?

Photograph one thing round you that’s missed as a result of of its bodily dimension or distance. Just as Mr. Niga does along with his pictures of ants, contemplate how one can make the acquainted unfamiliar, the unusual intimate or the bizarre extraordinary.

Then, add some supporting and explanatory textual content: What is it about the dimension or distance of these objects that makes them straightforward to miss? What function do they play in your life and in our world? Why ought to we cease to note and admire them?

The solutions to the Warm-Up quiz: 1) d; 2) d; three) b; four) c; 5) c

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