Friday, April 29, 2011

Zombie Fire Ants

This week we have been working on The Curiosity Files: Zombie Fire Ants. This was our first time using one of these unit studies and we really enjoyed it!  This is an e-book study for ages 8-13 though you could easily include children that are younger or older with slight modification. There are links and ideas included for older students and plenty of fun ideas for the younger set.  It includes everything you need to learn about these troublesome creatures.

This is "Ana Lyze" your guide for this study.
The pages are all as cute as this!

The first time I ever heard about fire ants was in a Tim Hawkins video.  I didn't even realize they were a real thing. Here's the video:

This unit study is jam packed. Zombie Fire Ants includes Bible study, writing, spelling, vocabulary, math, handwriting (beautiful copywork pages in both cursive and manuscript), history, geography (as always one of my favorites!), science, crafts and more.  It is internet linked and included a couple of video links as well.

I was especially impressed with the variety of math pages including time zones and real life word problems.

 I didn't realize that there was a book list until after I had already picked out and ordered books but it worked out fine. I was happy to see that there was a book list though because it makes my life a lot easier.  (I will point out that you really don't need to order anything...all of the information you need is included.)
The books we got from the library about ants.

We also watched this movie about ants:

I was so impressed with this study.  One very helpful feature is a complete answer key.  I really appreciate that! The only thing I really would have liked to see was some kind of suggested daily lesson plan.  I like to have things laid out for me. I also know that not having one adds to the flexibility and some people will really love that.

About 5 years ago I bought an illuminated gel ant farm when we were on vacation. The kids had been asking me to get ants and I kept putting it off.  So, I figured this would be the perfect time to order some ants and use it.  I ordered the ants and they came just in time. (Yes, I could have dug some up but it was worth the $5 to just order them.) This was a very enjoyable addition to our study.  You will find complete instructions for how to make your own ant farm if you don't want to purchase one and take the easy way out like me. :)

the ant farm

a close up of one of the ants

We also made our own version of ants on a log (suggested in the study) but we decided to try pretzels instead of celery.  I think it looks more like a log anyway (and definitely tastes better than celery.)

Emma with her ants on a log.

Though we did not use the writing lessons in this unit my 5th grade son is writing a story about fire ant armies. I have also found him reading library books about ants and observing ants outside this week.
some of the pages from Zombie Fire Ants

We also made ants with a cut up egg carton, paint, wiggly eyes and pipe cleaners.
Ryan and Jenna painting

Ellie with her finished ant

Emma with her completed ant.

The Curiosity Files: Zombie Fire Ants was a very interesting study.  I have to say I'm glad I live in the north and we don't have to deal with them. Click here for a fabulous sample of Zombie Fire Ants. You can purchase a copy for just $6.95.  You can see other Curiosity Files unit studies here.  Some are on sale for just $1! They are also available as a downloadable bundle (9 units for $46) or for pre-order on CD for $3 more.  I know I will be using these more of the unit studies in the future!

**I was given a free copy of this unit in exchange for my honest review.


m said...

thank you karen! i just got 2 of them ;) my kids will love the ant farm thing, we might do this in the summertime :)

mysteryhistorymom said...

This sounds really good! We had the best time reviewing Red Tides in this series. Very interesting. Good thing you bought the ants. We did not, as we thought we would catch them ourselves. We did and they died.:( So sad! Stopping by from the Crew!:) Lori

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