Using ants, animal behavior and the learning cycle to investigate scientific processes

Russell A. Ligon, Adam G. Dolezal, Michael R. Hicks, Michael W. Butler, Nathan I. Morehouse, Tirupalavanam Ganesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The behavior of animals is an intrinsically fascinating topic for students from a wide array of backgrounds. We describe a learning experience using animal behavior that we created for middle school students as part of a graduate-student outreach program, Graduate Partners in Science Education, at Arizona State University in collaboration with a K-8 public school. This activity capitalizes on the interest that animal behavior can generate to introduce and reinforce student understanding of the scientific method. Specifically, our activity highlights the general utility of the scientific method and uses this method to examine ant social behavior, with emphasis on generating and testing hypotheses. Furthermore, this activity introduces the idea of animal societies and encourages students to apply the concepts they learn to other species, including humans. By collecting ants locally, from schoolyards or nearby habitats, this experience situates learning in the context of students own communities. We also provide optional assessment materials that teachers can use to assess learning objectives and standard mastery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-534
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Biology Teacher
Volume76
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Fingerprint

Animal Behavior
Ants
animal behavior
Formicidae
students
learning
animal
Learning
Students
student
middle school students
public schools
science education
graduate
outreach
teachers
social behavior
Social Behavior
hypothesis testing
learning objective

Keywords

  • data collection
  • Ethology
  • hypothesis
  • middle school
  • NGSS
  • scientific method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Using ants, animal behavior and the learning cycle to investigate scientific processes. / Ligon, Russell A.; Dolezal, Adam G.; Hicks, Michael R.; Butler, Michael W.; Morehouse, Nathan I.; Ganesh, Tirupalavanam.

In: American Biology Teacher, Vol. 76, No. 8, 01.01.2014, p. 525-534.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ligon, Russell A. ; Dolezal, Adam G. ; Hicks, Michael R. ; Butler, Michael W. ; Morehouse, Nathan I. ; Ganesh, Tirupalavanam. / Using ants, animal behavior and the learning cycle to investigate scientific processes. In: American Biology Teacher. 2014 ; Vol. 76, No. 8. pp. 525-534.
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