Reflection: Advanced Students Social Insects - The Many Talents of Ants - Section 2: Explore


Differentiation for levels of readiness, vocabulary, and interest must always include something for students who are advanced due to background knowledge, innate talents, or motivation.  One of the ways I try to ensure that this occurs in my classroom is a technique that is, I hope, stimulating to all students.  I create and use much more specific content than is the norm for 3rd grade.  This is sometimes perceived as going "out of level" or doing "too much" but I do not think that is the case.  When I include very specific information, as I did about individual ant species in this lesson, I am not requiring students to learn any of those specific details and in addition I provide a support structure so that they can place the specifics into context.  (For example, early on in the year, I take students through a lesson on the taxonomy of different animal groups so that they have a framework for distinguishing between an individual species, a larger group, and an entire class.)  As a child and now as a teacher I find myself frustrated with content that blurs the specific details because it's thought to make the article more readable.  There aren't one or two types of ants, there are well over 10,000 different species.  In discussing them in the context of group behavior, there is every reason to use a few lesser-known examples from around the world.  It is part of my continued effort to gently expand students awareness of the vast richness of the animal world and I have observed that they find the details more interesting than the generic workbook brand articles on the subject.

  Specific Species - Why?
  Advanced Students: Specific Species - Why?
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Social Insects - The Many Talents of Ants

Unit 7: Animal Groups
Lesson 6 of 6

Objective: Students will read short passages about different ant species and create a diagram comparing and contrasting their different group behaviors.

Big Idea: Ants work in groups in many different ways.

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7 teachers like this lesson
Science, predator, prey, animal, Groups, herds
  52 minutes
leafcutter ants transporting leaves
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