Activity: Fire Ants-Where in the World?

Imported Fire Ants March 25, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

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Activity: Where in the World? (Teacher Version)

This is the teacher version of the Where in the World? hands-on exercise. It is designed to teach students where fire ants are located in the world and what conditions are needed for their survival. This could be used in the classroom or for a youth's science fair project.


The students will use a Web site to learn about geographic regions and to determine if those regions provide the conditions that are essential for fire ant survival. The web site is: Geographic Distribution of Fire Ants. The students will also indicate on U.S and South America maps the areas where fire ants are found now and where conditions may be too cold for them to survive in the United States.


Students will learn about the country where red imported fire ants came from originally and the date and location of their arrival in the United States.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) (other states may have similar systems)

3rd grade: 3.8.a, 3.8.b, 3.8.c, 3.8.d, 3.9.a, 3.9.b
4th grade: 4.5.a, 4.5.b, 4.8.a, 4.8.b
5th grade: 5.9.a, 5.9.b, 5.9.c
Social Studies
3rd grade: 3.4.a, 3.5.a, 3.5.b, 3.5.d
4th grade: 4.6.a, 4.6.b, 4.7.a, 4.7.b, 4.7.c
5th grade: 5.6.a, 5.6.b, 5.7.a, 5.7.b, 5.7.c



  1. Find information about the locations of current and future fire ant infestations using this web site: Geographic Distribution of Fire Ants. Have each student take a map of the United States and color in red the areas where fire ants are found, and color in blue the areas where it is probably too cold for them to survive.
  2. Also have the students color in the areas of the South America map where the red imported fire ants originated. See where the fire ants came from in South America.


  • Ask: Have any students in the class lived in a state without ants?
  • Have the students show their maps to their parents.
  • You might also extend the discussion to include the introduction of diseases, plants, animals and other organisms into the country “by accident.”

Note: You may want to refer to the KIDzANTS Teacher Manual, which is from the original release of KIDzANTS made by Texas AgriLife Extension.

The Fire Ant eXtension Youth Team would love some feedback from your experience. Please contact Paul Nester ( with questions, comments, testimonials, and particularly images of your students' accomplishments and the students engaging in this activity. If you send images that include students, please be sure that parental approval has been given to use the image. Most schools routinely have parents sign a photographic release form. If you are unsure whether a permission form has been completed, use this Photography Release Form and send it along with the image.

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