Activity 2: Ant Alert: How Does Invasion Threaten Natives
Materials & Setup
In Advance, Student Reading:
- Assign the Student Page “That Ant is a Tramp” as homework reading (pp. 20-23).
Class Period One
- Student Page “Argentine Ants Quiz” (pp. 37-38)
For each student teaching team
- One copy of the appropriate topic set (see class period two instructions) from the Student Page “Argentine Ants Teaching Teams Background” for each team member (pp. 26-36)
Class Period One
1) Watch the Nova video entitled, “Ants! Little Creatures that Run the World.” The entire video lasts approximately 1 hour, so if you have a shorter period than that, play video from beginning through the leafcutter ant segment. This is 47 minutes of run time. Or play as much of the video as you can during the class.
2) During the video, ask students to fill in the Student Page “Ant Video Note Sheet.” Let students know they do not necessarily need to remember the species names of different kinds of ants on this note sheet. However, they should be able to describe the ant species well enough that someone who’s watched the video would know which ant they are describing.
3) As homework, have students review their class notes and the “Argentine Ants” student page from the previous homework assignment to prepare for a brief in-class quiz the following class period.
Class Period Two
1) Have students complete the Student Page “Argentine Ants Quiz.”
2) Divide the class into four or more teams. Each team should consist of at least three students. Assign each team a topic from the list below, making sure that each topic is covered by at least one team. Explain to students that they will be working in teams to teach the rest of the class about a specific topic related to Argentine ants and the threat they pose to native ecosystems on Maui.
- Topic #1: The location and spread of Argentine ants in Haleakalā National Park
- Topic #2: The threat Argentine ants pose to native arthropods in the alpine/aeolian ecosystem
- Topic #3: Biological and behavioral characteristics that make Argentine ants a strong invader
- Topic #4: Characteristics of Argentine ants that affect how they spread and can be controlled
3) Hand out the appropriate section of the Student Page “Argentine Ants Teaching Teams Background” to the teams, making sure each team member receives a copy of the information on the group’s topic.
4) Have team members use the information from the initial homework reading and the student page you just handed out to develop a creative presentation that will teach other students about the team’s topic. Ideas include writing and performing a song or chant, making a visual representation, developing a multi-media presentation, or performing a skit or comedy routine.
5) Each team must also come up with two questions they want other students to be able to answer after their team presentation and have these questions written on a piece of paper that can be handed in.
Class Period 3:
1) Invite members of each team to stand up in front of the class and make their presentation. Go in the order in which the topics are listed above. Complete all the team presentations on a given topic before moving on to the next one. Prior to each presentation, have the team hand in its list of two questions that other students should learn to answer based on the presentation.
2) If there is time at the end of the class, have a class discussion focusing on the implications of what students have learned about Argentine ants for resource management in the park.
3) Select one or more questions from presentations on each topic, and either orally assign them as homework, or use them to prepare a quiz for the following class period or a later homework assignment.
- Do you think resource managers in Haleakalā National Park should make eradicating or controlling nonnative species such as Argentine ants a top priority? Why or why not?
- Think about the social structure and operation of ant colonies. Identify one aspect of ant behavior from which humans could learn valuable lessons and explain how that would benefit people. Then identify one aspect of ant behavior that would be destructive if people adopted it, and explain your thinking.
- Student Page “Ant Video Note Sheet” (teacher version, pp. 16-17)
- Student Page “Argentine Ants Quiz” (teacher version, pp. 18-19)
- Participation in preparing and delivering team presentation
- Team presentations: Assess on the basis of creativity, conformance with information provided, and thoroughness in answering the questions the team identified for other students.
- Journal entries