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Ant Research Project:

You need:

  • a turkey carcass
  • glass aquarium
  • anthill
  • an observation sheet

Activity: Place the turkey carcass close to an anthill. Put the aquarium over the carcass so that it is not exposed to animals, other insects, or to the weather. Have the children observe what happens each day. Help the children work through the scientific process that follows (i.e., question or problem, hypothesis [or prediction], research, observation, result).

State the Problem or Question: What will happen to a turkey carcass placed near an anthill?

Hypothesis: Have the children make a whole class prediction (by voting their choices) or have each child write her own prediction. Collect and post the predictions or have the class talk about what they think will happen.

Research: Research begins when the aquarium is placed over the turkey carcass and ant behavior is observed. Keep a journal, write observations sheets, take photos, and keep a calendar or a time line.

Result: Record what happens to the carcass over time. (FYI: The ants eventually will clean all the meat from the carcass. The carcass will collapse into a mound of turkey bones.)

Check the Hypotheses: Compare the results to the predictions.

For more ideas on this activity and others, see Everyday Discoveries, page 77.

Other ideas for research porjects:
     What foods do ants like?
     Can ants swim? Do they swim the backstroke?
     Can ants hear?

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