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Who's the Boss of the Anthill?
The students will act out the roles of queen, workers and soldier ants, in order to understand how an anthill functions.
Author: Rafał Garlacz
Methodology: Karolina Hanus
Translation: Anna Spysz
Proofreading: Jason Lowther
Producer: Marta Przywara
The work is a modification of lesson plan created by Children’s University Foundation under the CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 license
By observing and examining the behavior of ants and the way anthills work, the students learn how to construct arguments explaining why some animals form groups to help members survive. During the lesson, they practice critical thinking and drawing conclusions. The lesson takes place outdoors.
- The students know what an anthill looks like.
- The students know and understand the role performed by different ants (castes of ants) in the functioning of the anthill.
- The students can explain, using examples, why some animals form groups that help members survive.
Vocabulary: anthill, castes of ants: queen, workers, soldiers
The lesson begins with an observation of an anthill and ants in their natural environment – the class takes place outdoors. The students then learn about the functions performed by ants from different casts: queen, workers and soldiers. They use the knowledge they have acquired in the main task of the lesson: role-playing. During this task, they act out the role of ants from different castes, pretending to be the queen, the workers and soldiers in the different situations that ants encounter. Before the role-playing, they receive the appropriate props and accessories they will need. At the end of the class the students sum up their conclusions from the game as well as what they have learnt and understood about the way an anthill works. The assessment also covers other animals living in groups.
Together with this lesson plan you receive detailed role-playing instructions as well as tips on the objects you can be use for this task. You also get some background knowledge on the life of ants, the roles performed by ants and the different kinds of anthills which will help you prepare for the class and help you answer questions from students.
The materials you will need to gather before the lesson are: several sheets of paper, a royal crown and scepter (e.g. paper crown, hairband), 3 aprons, 3 shields and swords (they can be made from cardboard, they can be toys), grass and leaves.
Before the class find a place not far from school where there is an anthill.