Part of our first grade science curriculum is to study ants. This year, as a grade, we decided to try live ants. I volunteered my classroom aide and myself to set up the ant farms and get the ants inside.
Take One: I read all the directions. We set up the ant farms and placed the vials of ants in the faculty fridge for 10 minutes. Don't worry, almost all the grades had had lunch already. Then we took the vials out and opened the top of the first ant farm to pour the stunned ants in. Sounds simple and easy. It would have been if the ants were not huge, if the ants were really stunned, and if the vial would have fit inside the opening of the ant farm. But no, the vial did not fit and ants came tumbling out and onto the table, with a few falling in the ant farm, only to reanimate and fight for their lives! They climbed right back out. We managed to close the half-full vial back up and catch the ants one by one with those long green sticks that come with the farms.
Take Two: We made a funnel with paper and poured the ants from the vial into the funnel. The huge ants quickly clogged up the funnel and came crawling back at us! This is when all the cursing came into play. Thankfully, we had not attempted this with students in the room. So, as the ants cascaded off the table and onto the floor we cursed, scooped with paper, and stomped. I am proud to say, there were only about five ant tragedies. It was definitely the wrong day to wear sandals to work.
Take Three: We put the remaining vials back in the fridge and left them there for 25 minutes. By this time the kids were back in the room. I had them go to the book nook and read books quietly. I think I scared the kids! I told them we were doing serious stuff and we needed it quiet so that we did not get stung by the ants. This time the ants seemed out of it. I took card-stock paper and angled it to one edge of the ant farm opening. I angled the vial on the other side and for the most part, the ants fell into the ant farm. This worked for at least two of the five ant farms. Then, I noticed a few stuck in the back of the vial and asked my aide to tap the vial. This made the card-stock paper flex and ants shot at me. I let out a scream as an ant landed on my pant leg. I don't remember how I got it off, it was a blur.
So after all that stress, the ant vials were empty and only 3 ant farms full! Yeah, kinda a problem. Ugh! My solution: I connected tubes from the full ant farms to the empty ones and left for the day. I placed sugar in the empty farms and I am hoping the ants decide to check out the other farms. If not, I am going to be ordering more ants.
To go with this whole ant theme, I am working on a TpT thematic units on ants. I wanted to give you a little preview freebie. Click the pictures below to download. Wish me luck with the live ones!