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This one is on Rocks from an Ant’s Eye View
By – Scott Dan
Subject – Science
Grade Level – 1st – 2nd
Concept: Observing rocks, skills needed for pre-classification of rocks
1. Zip Lock bags or small cardboard boxes
2. 12 large bowls or containers
3. Variety of rocks
4. Handout provided by teacher
6. Large chart paper and a felt tip marker
7. Magnifying Glasses
8. An ant or ant farm (may be available from an insect unit done previously in the year)
9. White construction paper
10. 12 flat metal trays (may use newspaper instead if not available)
1. Thought needs to be given as to the desired location for the children to pick out their rocks. Four options are available.
a. Let the children find rocks in the school yard
b. Let the children bring rocks from home
c. The teacher will supply the rocks
d. The class can take a fieldtrip to a local park where they are allowed to take rocks
1. Ask the children the following question: “If you were an ant, what would you see as you were walking around outside?” Make a list of the children’s suggestions on a piece of large chart paper (or marker board).
2. When rocks are suggested (if not, prompt the children to do so), ask them if they think rocks would look any different if they were an ant.
3. Then ask the children to think of things that they can do so that they can have an ant’s perspective of rocks. Listen to all of their suggestions.
4. Provide each student with a rock and ask the children to draw the rock from an ant’s perspective. They will share their pictures with the class when everyone has finished. This may be at the end of the day or the beginning of the next day.
1. The children now need to start a rock collection. This may be done one of four ways:
a) Let the children find 10 rocks in the school yard
b) Let the children bring 10 rocks from home
c) The teacher will supply 10 rocks for each child
d.) The class can take a fieldtrip to a local park where they are allowed to take
2. Once the children have their rocks, gather everyone at the back of the room. Have the children describe one of their rocks. How does it look, feel, and smell. Brainstorm about the various kinds of things they will see when they examine their rocks. On a large piece of chart paper (or marker board), let the children watch you as you make a chart labeled “What do I expect to see” on the left half, and “What did I see?” on the right half. Fill in the left hand side of the chart with the children’s suggestions.
(Note: Use colored markers to illustrate the children’s suggestions instead of always using words. This will provide the children who cannot write very well with an alternate way of demonstrating their knowledge. For example, if they believe that the rock will have red specks in it, draw red specks. If they believe they will see crystals, draw crystals.)
3. Send the children back to their tables and let them wash them off their rocks. This can be done as a group activity with the students in pairs with a bowl of water and a toothbrush or rag.
4. Discuss with the children any changes in the rocks as they are washed.
Pass out magnifying glasses to each of the children (at least one per group). Ask them how these magnifying glasses will help us see what ants see. After they have had 10 minutes to examine each of the rocks. Ask them to pick three of their favorite rocks. Each rock will get a worksheet. Each worksheet has three parts. The first part is for the students to draw their rock without using the magnifying glass. The second part is for the students to draw what they see when they do look through the magnifying glass. The final part is for the students to write down any descriptive words about their rock or colors that they see in their rock. For example: rough, pointy, red, blue, gold, etc.
5. Create an “I wonder” chart about rocks. This should be done on a large piece of chart paper and will be hung up for the children to see. This chart will then be used to assist the teacher in setting up the following lessons.
6. Have the children create a rock using “torn paper.” The children simply tear construction paper into the shapes that they want and glue them down on top of each other to illustrate what an ant would see if it were looking at a rock. These will be shared with the class and used to make a bulletin board with the title, “A Rocky World We Live On.” A picture of the earth will be place in the center with the title underneath it. If there is room, then the children’s pictures will make a circle around the earth, if there is not room, then the pictures will be placed in an aesthetic manner on the board.
a) Have children ponder why different rocks have different colors. Explore
this concept by breaking up rocks into smaller pieces and growing rocks in
b) Have the children create an ant’s eye view of the world diorama with a shoebox.
c) Have the children create a class diorama on the floor with some ant figurines and other materials they have found outside. This may be done by laying plastic on the floor or using a plastic swimming pool. Bring in sand to put on the floor covering and invite children to develop the rest.
d) Bring in an ant farm into the class (if one has not already been introduced).
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