Ants Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan can be used to engage your students in learning about ants, an insect about which they likely have some prior knowledge. This lesson plan features activities that support teaching elementary students about the anatomy and adaptations of ants.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson students will be able to:

  • identify the parts of an ant's body
  • describe the social structure of an ant colony
  • use science vocabulary to explain ant adaptations


This lesson will take approximately 30-60 minutes.

Curriculum Standards


Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.


Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs.

Materials Needed

  • pipe cleaners (black) - 3 per student
  • plastic spoons (black or red) - 2 per student
  • googly eyes (optional) - 2 per student
  • a set of pre-printed labels for each student with the words: head, thorax, abdomen, legs, and exoskeleton
  • scrap black construction paper/tape (optional)
  • chart paper
  • sentence strips (prepared with statements per ant colonies activity below)


  • anatomy
  • antennae
  • colony
  • exoskeleton
  • pheromones
  • queen
  • thorax
  • vibrations


Read the lesson Ant Facts: Lesson for Kids to the class. Use the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.

Anatomy of an Ant Activity

On a sheet of chart paper at the top center, write the title ''Anatomy of an Ant.'' Discuss the meaning of the word ''anatomy.'' Then, draw a large ant in the center. With the help of the students, label the head, thorax, abdomen, legs, and exoskeleton. Tell students they will refer to this resource while doing the next activity.

Provide each student with pipe cleaners, plastic spoons, googly eyes, and small labels that are pre-printed with the parts of an ant (head, thorax, abdomen, legs, and exoskeleton). You may choose to use construction paper or tape to add wings and antennae.

Have students create an ant by placing two spoons end-to-end and wrapping the center of the pipe cleaners around the center of the spoons four times. Enough pipe cleaner should be left over on each side that each of the pipe cleaners will create two legs. Googly eyes may be placed on the head to differentiate it from the abdomen. Have students work in pairs, and, referring to the chart, label the parts of their ants.

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