Activity: Fire Ants-My Island Home

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Activity: My Island Home (Teacher Version)

This is the teacher version of the My Island Home hands-on excercise. It is designed  to teach students about the natural habitats of ants and how to create a suitable habitat for fire ants. This could be used in the classroom or for a youth's science fair project.


Students will observe ants in an island habitat, symbolic of their natural habitat.


Students will learn the requirements necessary for a habitat to be suitable for fire ants.

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

3rd grade: 3.1.a, 3.1.b, 3.2.a, 3.2.b, 3.3.c, 3.8.a, 3.8.b, 3.8.c, 3.8.d
4th grade: 4.1.a, 4.1.b, 4.2.a, 4.2.b, 4.3.c, 4.5.a, 4.5.b
5th grade: 5.1.a, 5.1.b, 5.2.a, 5.2.b, 5.9.a, 5.9.b, 5.9.c


  • Large bowl
  • Water
  • Floral foam or dense sponge
  • Scissors


For this activity, the students will need to be able to go outside to find live ants. Give them these instructions:
  1. Carefully cut a piece of floral foam or dense sponge to fit into the bowl (ask an adult to help you if needed).
  2. Cut the foam (or sponge) small enough so that it does not touch the sides of the bowl.
  3. Pour water into the bowl, 2 to 3 inches deep. Wait about 15 minutes for the water to be absorbed.
  4. While you are waiting, find an ant (or two) for your island. Where are going to look? Under a log or in a field might be a good place to start. Use a stick to transport the ant to the "island."
  5. You’ll need to supply the ant with food. What kind of food could you place on the island?
  6. You could also place some broken sticks into the foam, providing the ant with something to climb on in this artificial habitat you have created.
  7. Keep the water level at 2 to 3 inches deep to maintain the “island” effect. Observe the ant(s) and its activities.


Describe how this habitat is different from a natural habitat where ants are typically found.

Note: You may want to refer to the KIDzANTS Teacher Manual, which is from the original release of KIDzANTS made by Texas A&M 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, you can use this Photography Release Form to send along with your image.