I started off this lesson with the guiding question we will explore throughout this whole unit, " How does working together help animals survive?". I also used the following clip from YouTube to help students get excited about the topic.
I remember as a child how I liked observing nature and I used that idea as my basis for this lesson. In this age of technology, of course we could watch videos or look at pictures, but nothing could really compare to actually observing nature in action first hand. I set up the lesson to take advantage of just that. I used a PowerPoint, Observing Ants , to help guide our exploration.
Once outside, I felt that it was very important to give my students a task to focus on. I created the Ant Watch Focus page so that my students would be deliberate observers. They were specifically watching for behaviors that showed that the ants were working together. Here is an example of one of the pages, that a student completed after going on an ant watch. I knew that hey would also have questions, so I created I have questions in order for them to jot down any questions they may have that we could discuss further in class.As you can tell in this video, Observing ants, they were fascinated by the simple act of ants just entering and exiting their any hill.
We went outside three times to observe and then we came back and discussed what we noticed each time. Here is one of the I have questions pages. These discussions helped us focused on the concept of survival and led us to our next lesson on life inside the the colony. I ended a YouTube video that explains how a colony is formed. My students knew about the ant life cycle because we had explored it during a previous lesson. Using the I have questions format, allows students to ask any question that they may be puzzled by because all questions are welcomed, that's what adds to the discovery!