Monday, September 10, 2012

Outdoor Hour Challenge ~ Ants

It feels so good to be back into a regular schedule of nature study. We had good intentions last year, but it always seemed to get dropped when we got behind. To remedy that situation this year, I have planned for Fridays to be solely about art and nature.

I have several goals for nature study this year, but the biggest one is to participate in Barb's Outdoor Hour Challenges through Handbook of Nature Study. I receive the monthly newsletter by e-mail (and you can, too, by going HERE). She really makes it ridiculously easy for you and me to participate. All you really have to do is grab a nature journal and get outside.

This week's topic was Ants. We definitely wanted to make our own ant farm, so prepped a mason jar. We looked and looked for an ant hill, but couldn't find one. Instead, we disturbed a nest at the base of one of our trees. The first thing the kids noticed ... ants scramble when their nest is disturbed! We didn't dig for the queen. We just put some of the dirt, rocks and ants into our jar for observation. But they kept escaping through the miniscule holes we poked for air. Then Brynne remembered her insect observation jar, and it worked much better. It also has a magnifying glass on the top, so you can see up close and personal.

Eli did some double-magnification with a magnifying glass.

Eli and Brynne each drew the ant farm in their nature journals.

We read the book Ants by Janet Halfmann.

I wish I would have had this fictional book by Janet Halfmann. It looks delightful!

They did a little ant math by using a printable book based on 100 Hungry Ants. It was a free download from TpT (TeachersPayTeachers).

We learned about colonies, the parts of the ant, and the different jobs of all of the ants.

We headed to the park to work on our tree nature study and walked right up to a series of ant hills. We got down on our hands and knees and observed it for quite some time. I asked the kids where they thought the ants were going into the hill. They guessed a couple of spots in the hill itself, and then we saw a tiny little leaf sitting right next to the hill. The ants were all going under it. Their entrance was there.

We also observed some ants bringing in food to the hill. The kids were very fascinated to actually see what we had been reading about and discussing all day. We carefully put the leaf back and left the hill undisturbed so that the ants could continue with their work.

When we got home, the kids completed a notebooking page I printed from Jimmie's Collage. They each wrote facts, and then copied Proverbs 6:6:

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
Consider its ways and be wise.

What a great way to start our Outdoor Hour Challenges! I cannot wait to complete a challenge each Friday this year. We will give up other subjects before we will give up nature.


  1. Cool stuff mom!!! Pictures look great too!!!!

  2. Once again, great stuff! I love their little journals.


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