Teachers: Are you ready for Ant Picnic?
Take this quiz to self-check if you are ready to do the Ant Picnic experiment with your students.
IF YOU RECEIVE 16 POINTS THEN YOU ARE READY TO GO.
How many experiments do I plan to set up with my students? How many groups will I put students in?
Just one - I'll set the experiment up as a demo
I'll put them in groups of 2 - that means more experiments but my students can handle it
I'll put them in groups of 4 - each group can set up one experiment
I'll put them in groups of 6 - each group member is responsible for one bait type
I'll put students in larger groups (6+)
Do I have all ingredients ready to make an Ant Picnic? Select all that apply.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - about 1 cup
Amino Acids: L-Glutamine powder - 3 1/2 tablespoons (50 g)
Sugar - 3 1/2 tablespoons (50 g)
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 g)
Pecan Sandies cookies (or a different shortbread cookie if you are at a nut-free school)
Access to water (tap water is ok)
Cotton balls - 5 per experiment (multiply by however many experiments you'll set up with your class)
Measuring spoons or scale
printed Student Data Sheets (one per group)
printed "Experiment in Progress" signs (one per group)
Sandwich ziplock bags (6 per group)
Pencil for data recording and labeling (one per group)
5 containers for mixing solutions and holding liquids (e.g., plastic cups, glass jars, etc.)
Select all that apply when mixing these 3 solutions: amino acids in water, salt water, sugar water.
Amino acids (L-Glutamine powder) will dissolve in water (warm or cold), creating a clear liquid
Amino acids won't dissolve in water, creating a murky liquid - needs stirring when adding cotton balls
Sugar will dissolve in cold water
Sugar won't dissolve in cold water; the solution needs to be heated up
Salt will dissolve in cold water
Salt won't dissolve in cold water; the solution needs to be heated up
Which statements are true about the cookie bait? Select all that apply.
Students need to place a whole cookie on the index card
Students need to place 1/4 of a cookie on the index card
Students need to crumble up 1/4 of a cookie on the index card
Students needs to crumble up 1/4 of a cookie and spread it on and around the index card
The cookie bait needs a cotton ball
The cookie bait does NOT need a cotton ball
What am I doing with students during the 1 hour wait period while the experiment is set up outside?
Spirit Ant Activity
Class discussion using discussion questions on Student Data Sheet
Classroom visit by research scientist
Ant Picnic Pre-survey Part 2 (only relevant if you are participating in the pre/post survey study)
Where will I allow students to set up their experiments?
They can go anywhere on school property
They need to stay within eye shot of each other but otherwise can choose freely
They need to do this in the schoolyard
I have chosen a different environment type for each group, so we have some diversity
What does each group have to have available BEFORE they go out to set up their experiment? Select all that apply.
6 bait cards, each labeled with date, group name and one of the bait types
5 cotton balls, each soaked in a bait type and 1/4 of a cookie
Student Data Sheet for recording start time, weather conditions & site information
Access to a smart phone or GPS capable device to record GPS coordinates
Experiment in Progress sign
What does each group have to have available when they RETURN to their experiment site after 1 hour? Select all that apply.
Access to a camera or camera phone to take a picture of the experiment BEFORE picking it up
6 ziplock bags
Student Data Sheet for recording end time & doing pre-collection count
What is the pre-collection count?
During the 1 hour wait, students guess the number of ants they expect to find when they return to their site
After 1 hour, students count the number of ants they see at the baits BEFORE picking them up
AFTER collecting the baits, students eyeball how many ants are in each bag
Why is the pre-collection count important?
What's the pre-collection count?
It's not - I won't do it!
It ensures that any ants that might run when cards are picked up are counted
How many times does each group need to count the ants in their bags?
Once and record this number as the final count
Twice and record both numbers as the final count
Three times, then calculate the average of the three totals and record it as the final count
SCENARIO: Students have collected their zip lock bags and entered their ant counts on the data sheets. What now?
I will collect data sheets from students and enter the data online myself
I will explain the form to students and will let them complete it in their groups, with extensive supervision to ensure they enter the data correctly
I'll give students the data entry link and let them figure it out by themselves
I don't care about sending our data to the scientist so I'm not planning to enter the data
I will collect data sheets from students and ask someone else (e.g., an adult volunteer) to enter the data
SCENARIO: Students return to their experiment and don't see any ants. They ask me what they should do. I tell them:
Just leave the experiment where it is - no need to pick it up if there are no ants.
Follow all the steps exactly, as if you saw ants. Some ants might hide underneath the cards.
Pick up the experiment but combine all bait cards into a single zip lock bag.
Pick up the experiment but don't record the data. Zeros are not important.
SCENARIO: Right after students collect their zip lock bags, the class period ends and students need to leave. What do I do with the bags they collected?
Freeze the bags overnight and count the ants during the next class period
Leave all bags at room temperature by the window and count the ants during the next class period
Throw away all bags
SCENARIO: A group of students would like to add some additional food types to the Ant Picnic experiment. They are really interested in how ants like potato chips and bananas. What do I tell them?
I tell them to just take two extra index cards and add the two additional food types to the experiment
I look up the extension activities section and tell my students that they can set up the additional food types as a completely separate experiment
I tell them that's not possible
SCENARIO: One group returns to their Ant Picnic experiment just to realize that all the cookie crumbles are gone and some of the cotton balls are missing too. In the distance they see a raccoon who's the likely culprit. The students are very upset and want to know what they should do now. I tell them:
Just leave everything as it is - the experiment is ruined
Follow the experiment procedure, but make a note on the data sheet so when the data is entered, this information can be included
Collect all index cards into a single bag
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