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Learning from Ants

The amazing world of the ant

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To consider what we can learn from ants.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the YouTube video ‘Children learn about the ant’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 5.19 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXUCUvcscXs
  • You will also need the Bible passage Proverbs 6.6-8, which is available at: https://tinyurl.com/ygt34kby
  • Optional: you may wish to display the words and phrases identified in the ‘Assembly’, Step 7, in which case you will also need the means to do so. The words are ‘hardworking’, ‘strong’, ‘self-motivated’, ‘good at planning and organizing’, ‘team-workers’ and ‘persistent’.

Assembly

  1. Point out that the children have probably heard the expression ‘having ants in your pants’.

    Ask the children what they think it means. You may wish to ask them to demonstrate!

    Identify that it means that someone is fidgety or restless.

  2. Explain the meaning behind the saying.

    - Ants are very small insects that can bite and make our skin tickle when they run over us.
    - When we observe ants, they always seem to be scurrying about. They don’t stop to rest.

  3. Point out that the Bible, which is a book that many people believe is full of wisdom, advises us to take careful notice of ants. In the Book of Proverbs, it says, ‘If you want to be wise, go and look at the ant.’

    Note: if your school uses the Jolly Phonics programme, you may wish to involve Reception and KS1 children here by asking them what the first letter that they learned to recognize, sound and sign was: ‘a for ant’!

  4. Ask the children why they think we might be encouraged to regard ants as a good example. Why are they so special?

    Listen to a range of responses.

  5. Identify that ants are tiny creatures that appear to have little strength, but they always seem busy.

    Point out that we rarely see just one ant on its own; ants are usually found with other ants.

  6. Show the YouTube video ‘Children learn about the ant’.



  7. Make the following points about ants.

    - Ants are very hardworking; they are never lazy. As a result, ants never go hungry.
    - Ants are strong. They can lift 20 times their own body weight. That’s like a seven-year-old picking up a car!
    - Ants are self-motivated. They don’t need a boss standing over them, telling them what to do. They don’t complain about how small they are and how big the task is.
    - Ants are good at planning and organizing. They know that they must plan ahead. They are wise enough to know that there will be times and seasons when it will be difficult to go out looking for food or building ant cities, so they store up food and share it out when it is needed.
    - Ants are team-workers who work for the common good. Ants know that they can accomplish more by working together than by working alone. They set goals and work together to achieve them.
    Every ant has a particular role, a function. Some tend to the eggs, while others make sure that the queen is fed and taken care of. Some build the nest, while others search for food and store it for the entire nest. Some are soldiers who protect the nest.
    - Ants are persistent; they keep going. If an ant mound is knocked down, the ants will come together and rebuild it. They don’t give up.

Time for reflection

Ask the children, ‘Why might we want to become wise?’

Listen to a range of responses.

Explain that you are going to read out the key characteristics of ants. Ask the children to listen and consider whether they share any of the ants’ characteristics. As you read through the list, you may wish to ask the children to raise their hands if they think that they are good at that particular thing.

- Ants are hardworking.
Pause to allow time for thought.

- Ants are strong.
Pause to allow time for thought.

- Ants are self-motivated.
Pause to allow time for thought.

- Ants are good at planning and organizing.
Pause to allow time for thought.

- Ants are good team-workers.
Pause to allow time for thought.

- Ants are persistent.
Pause to allow time for thought.

Ask the children to consider which of these characteristics they would particularly like to work on.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for amazing ants.
Thank you for the lessons that we can learn from them.
Please help us to be hardworking, motivated team players who work well together and care for others.
Amen.

Song/music

‘From the tiny ant’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sUPK7LqAj8 (2.41 minutes long)

Extension activities

  1. Go together on an ant hunt and observe what ants do.
  2. For Art, make some humorous ant posters with titles such as ‘We’re better together!’ and ‘Who says I’m not strong?’
Publication date: June 2021   (Vol.23 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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