Insect Condominiums

Imported Fire Ants February 19, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

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Activity: Insect Condominiums

Overview

Build and maintain a home specifically suited to an insect pet.

Objective

Learn ecologically based concepts such as niche, habitat and survival requirements of insects and to reinforce the importance of observation in the scientific method of problem solving.

Materials

  • Insects, either something you caught or something you purchased at a pet store
  • Paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Various sizes and shapes of plastic containers (suggestions include 2-liter bottles, juice containers, ice cream buckets, etc.)
  • Scissors
  • Clear packing tape
  • Netting (pantyhose, tulle, screen, cheesecloth)
  • Permanent markers
  • Other odds and ends such as beads, buttons and craft items for decorating

Instructions

  1. Go outside and catch some insects, or buy crickets, mealybugs or other insects at a pet store.
  2. Think about what things all houses have in common and why these items and rooms are included in most homes.
  3. Create homes for your insects using recyclable materials. Use one container or attach several together. You will need to figure out a way to open and close the container without losing the insect. You will also have to figure out how to water and feed each insect. You can decorate the houses with markers or by gluing craft items onto them if you wish.
  4. Look for and collect the necessary materials for the insect to live in its condo — grass, leaves, soil, water, other live animals, bedding materials, etc.
  5.  Eventually, you should let your insect(s) go back outside.

Wrap-up

  • How did your insect condo relate to the insect’s natural habitat? 

Additional Information for Instructors

  • Have the students explain their condos to one another; what components did they include and why?
  •  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.

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