Activities and Lesson Plans

Cover Ants - June 2011

Related 4th Grade TEKS


4.8 A, B, C: Geometry and spatial reasoning. The student identifies and describes attributes of geometric figures using formal geometric language. The student is expected to: (A) identify and describe right, acute, and obtuse angles; (B) identify and describe parallel and intersecting (including perpendicular) lines using concrete objects and pictorial models; and (C) use essential attributes to define two- and three-dimensional geometric figures.

Language Arts

4.15 A, B, C, D, E: Writing/Writing Process. Students use elements of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text. Students are expected to: (A) plan a first draft by selecting a genre appropriate for conveying the intended meaning to an audience and generating ideas through a range of strategies (e.g., brainstorming, graphic organizers, logs, journals); (B) develop drafts by categorizing ideas and organizing them into paragraphs; (C) revise drafts for coherence, organization, use of simple and compound sentences, and audience; (D) edit drafts for grammar, mechanics, and spelling using a teacher-developed rubric; and (E) revise final draft in response to feedback from peers and teacher and publish written work for a specific audience.

4.18 Ai, ii, iii: Writing/Expository and Procedural Texts. Students write expository and procedural or work-related texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes. Students are expected to: (A) create brief compositions that: (i) establish a central idea in a topic sentence; (ii) include supporting sentences with simple facts, details, and explanations; and (iii) contain a concluding statement.

4.25: Research/Synthesizing Information. Students clarify research questions and evaluate and synthesize collected information. Students are expected to improve the focus of research as a result of consulting expert sources (e.g., reference librarians and local experts on the topic).

4.28: Listening and Speaking/Speaking. Students speak clearly and to the point, using the conventions of language. Students continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to express an opinion supported by accurate information, employing eye contact, speaking rate, volume, and enunciation, and the conventions of language to communicate ideas effectively.


4.2 A, B, C, D, E, F: Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student uses scientific inquiry methods during laboratory and outdoor investigations. The student is expected to: (A) plan and implement descriptive investigations, including asking well-defined questions, making inferences, and selecting and using appropriate equipment or technology to answer his/her questions; (B) collect and record data by observing and measuring, using the metric system, and using descriptive words and numerals such as labeled drawings, writing, and concept maps; (C) construct simple tables, charts, bar graphs, and maps using tools and current technology to organize, examine, and evaluate data; (D) analyze data and interpret patterns to construct reasonable explanations from data that can be observed and measured; (E) perform repeated investigations to increase the reliability of results; and (F) communicate valid, oral, and written results supported by data.

4.3 C: Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student uses critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions. The student is expected to: (C) represent the natural world using models such as rivers, stream tables, or fossils and identify their limitations, including accuracy and size.

4.4 A: Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student knows how to use a variety of tools, materials, equipment, and models to conduct science inquiry. The student is expected to: (A) collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including calculators, microscopes, cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, mirrors, spring scales, pan balances, triple beam balances, graduated cylinders, beakers, hot plates, meter sticks, compasses, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and stopwatches; and materials to support observation of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

4.10 A: Organisms and environments. The student knows that organisms undergo similar life processes and have structures that help them survive within their environment. The student is expected to: (A) explore how adaptations enable organisms to survive in their environment such as comparing birds' beaks and leaves on plants.

Social Studies

4.9 A, B, C: Geography. The student understands how people adapt to and modify their environment. The student is expected to: (A) describe ways people have adapted to and modified their environment in Texas, past and present; (B) identify reasons why people have adapted to and modified their environment in Texas, past and present, such as the use of natural resources to meet basic needs; and (C) analyze the consequences of human modification of the environment in Texas, past and present.

4.24 A, B: Social studies skills. The student uses problem-solving and decision-making skills, working independently and with others, in a variety of settings. The student is expected to: (A) use a problem-solving process to identify a problem, gather information, list and consider options, consider advantages and disadvantages, choose and implement a solution, and evaluate the effectiveness of the solution; and (B) use a decision-making process to identify a situation that requires a decision, gather information, identify options, predict consequences, and take action to implement a decision.

Discussion Questions
  1. What are some characteristics that classify ants as insects?
  2. Tell what you learned about the anatomy of an ant.
  3. What did you think were some of the most “ant-eresting” facts? Give details! 
  4.  What’s a colony? Why are ants considered social insects? Tell about the members of an ant colony.
  5. Tell about the lifecycle of an ant. Which part of the lifecycle do you find the most interesting? Which three parts of the lifecycle are all considered “brood?”
  6. How do ants communicate? Why is it important for ants to communicate? 
  7.  What is the difference between “native” and “invasive” ants? Tell about some kinds of each. 
  8.  What are some Texas animals that eat ants? 
  9.  CHALLENGE QUESTION: Why are ants important to us? How do you think humans would be affected if ants disappeared from Earth?
Zoom in to Get a Closer Look!

Wow! Take a close-up look at ants and see how amazing these insects really are. Using your computer “magnifying glass” check out their cool details at:

Ant Architecture

TEACHERS! THIS ONE’S FOR YOU: The focus of this lesson created by The Learning Channel is how the environment influences the way we use our resources. With your students explore the way ants build and utilize their colonies. We suggest incorporating a discussion of invasive and native ant species in Texas.


The Secret Lives of Ants

What do those ants do down there under the ground? What kind of secret lives do they lead? Hummm.... It’s time someone found out! Go to this website: Do all six activities and report your findings to your class. Create a report first as a rough draft. Don’t forget to proof read, edit, then practice before presenting it aloud to your class.

Texas Horned Lizard Watch

Texas Horned Lizards are not only our state reptile, but they’re very cool critters! Unfortunately, they’re also a threatened species in part because the harvester ants they eat are in trouble. Find out more about what’s being done to make sure Texas doesn’t lose these special mascots. Watch this 9-minute long video created by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department: Then, as part of the TPWD Horned Lizard Watch program, tell others about the “horny toad” through the “Hometown Horned Toads Essay Project.”