Imported Fire Ants: What Do You Like to Eat

Imported Fire Ants February 19, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

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Activity: What Do You Like to Eat?

Overview

Compare what you like to eat with that of an ant. Create a model of an ant and then eat it!

Objective

Be able to identify food ants are attracted to and food sources to use in creating a model of an ant.

Materials

  • Refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • Baking sheet
  • Assortment of various food items: chocolate chips, chocolate coated candies, pretzel sticks, chow mein noodles, seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower, nuts such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, decorator sprinkles
  • Cake icing (to use as “glue,” if necessary)

Safety Tip

  • You will need to ask an adult to help you to bake the ant model, if you do not have permission to use an oven by yourself.

Instructions

  1. Following the directions on the cookie dough, preheat the oven to the appropriate temperature.
  2. Prepare the work area by disinfecting the countertop. Wash your hands.
  3. Shape the cookie dough into gumdrop-size balls and position them on baking sheet, three balls per “bug.” The balls should just barely touch. Note: the dough will flatten and spread, and this varies by brand. Bake the cookies according to the package directions.
  4. While the cookies are in the oven, Choose from the various food items — the candies, nuts, etc. — to create your bug.
  5. Remove the cookies from the oven. Caution: The pan will be very hot. Be careful!
  6. Move the cookie “bugs” to the work surface, preferably a plate or serving tray.
  7. While the cookies are still warm, push the food items into the dough to create a “bug.” Work quickly while the cookies are still warm; if they cool and harden, use cake icing to “glue” the decorations onto the cookie.

Wrap-up

  • Which food items did you use to create your bug? How many legs does your bug have? Does it have wings? Why did you choose the food items, are they your favorite?
  • Celebrate by eating your bug!

Additional Information for Instructors

  • Ask: Which food items did you use to create your bug? How many legs does your bug have? Does it have wings? Why did you choose the food items, are they your favorite?
  • Have each student describe his or her bug to the rest of the class. All students can then celebrate by eating their bugs!
  •  You may want to refer to the original KIDzANTS Teacher Manual, which was included in the original release of the KIDzANTS Red Imported Fire Ant Youth module developed by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.