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In this outdoor activity, learners investigate ant behavior by testing ant feeding reactions to different types of food. Learners attempt to discover an ant "superfood" and use that food to try and get some ants from a colony to start a new one at a different location. Based on what learners observe, they also consider how ants communicate with each other.

Quick Guide

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 30 cotton swabs
  • 1 to 2 liters of water
  • 1 sprinkler can or bottle
  • 12 small paper cups
  • 12 popsicle sticks
  • masking or transparent tape
  • 2 medicine droppers
  • ant foods (such as peanut butter, sugar, cereal, flour, meat)
  • 3 pieces of cardboard
  • 5 soda straws
  • action cards (see PDF)


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Populations
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • The Scientific Worldview
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



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