Hello Mountain SOL Parents! We just finished up a whole unit on ANTS in our in-school Mountain SOL programming! We learned about how they hibernate, how new queens establish their own nests, how ants work together, and (The kid’s favorite part) we got ant farms for the classrooms! (As you can see in the attached pictures, some ants were far more industrious than others!)
You may be wondering why there is a photo of a strange looking plant in this collection. Well, that plant is called bloodroot and its seeds are propagated by….. drum-roll please….. ANTS! The ants take the bloodroot’s ONE seed, drag it back to their nest, and they devour the outer parts. Oddly enough, rather than sugars bloodroot seeds provide lipids (fat). Once there is nothing left but the tiny, inner seed, the ants bury it in their ‘garbage chamber’ where it will grow the following season! This type of propagation is known as Myrmecochory.
Does that word sound familiar? You may recognize it from the Illiad or even the movie Troy. Achilles’ soldiers were said to have been ants that were turned into men and they were commonly known as…. Myrmidons!
As you can tell, the kids had a lot of fun with this unit! Coming up next we have our stewardship projects. We can’t wait to find out what ideas the kids have!