My students have become little scientists this year, because of a soil study project we have been working on. They have been asking questions, reading for information and writing about their findings. Their enthusiasm for learning fuels my passion for teaching.
These second graders are growing up in a beautiful, rural part of Texas with a great diversity in wildlife.
While researching their soil creatures, they have been noticing the interrelationships between organisms. These ecological concepts have helped increase their background knowledge and have sparked an interest in entomology.
My students will be reporting to all kinds of Citizen Science projects in the coming year, including Texas Bee Watchers, Journey North, Monarch Health and the Lost Ladybug Project. I would love to add an ant study to that list, as we learn about the soil creatures and decomposers on our playground. The symbiotic relationship between ants and aphids, along with the parasitic wasps and ladybugs that naturally control the crop pests, is a fascinating topic for any student.
We will have “mounds” of fun observing harvester ants in the ant farm, collecting data to send to researchers and discovering everything we can about ants.
My students will make ant bait kits from household items so they can submit samples to the School of Ants and participate in Ant Picnic. I will display the life cycle model beside the ant farm and the kids will use the iPads to research the ants’ way of life. I have already created a classroom collection of 40 online ant books on the Epic!-Books for Kids’ website for my students to access. Having the iPad will allow reluctant readers to listen to the read-aloud books available on that site and to view videos so that, like ants, we are all working together and cooperating as a group. The kids can also use the iPad to submit sightings and scientific reports to other citizen science projects, like Bugs in Our Backyard and Ant-vasion.
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