The Hō‘ike Little Fire Ant Activity is ideal for students grades 4- 8, but can be adapted up to grade 12. This true Citizen Scientist activity is a two-part lesson studying the little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) in Hawai‘i. In part 1 students will learn about ants in Hawai‘i, their impacts and biology, and collect ants for identification. Then in part 2, students will observe the ants they collected, evaluate their ant samples to find suspect ants, then submit their samples to their Island Invasive Species Committee. This contributes valuable data and help support state-wide early detection efforts for LFA.
Based on a module from the Hō‘ike o Haleakalā Curriculum, this abbreviated 1-hour LFA lesson can be taught in class. Students then survey their yard or local park and bring the ant samples back to class. Teachers may choose to conduct a second day “lab” where students log their data (sheet provided below), and sort their samples (Quick sort key below). Survey is an engaging way to get your students interested in invasive species, entomology, and even using a dichotomous key.
You can contact your island’s Invasive Species Committee to facilitate the Hō‘ike Little Fire Ant Activity or do it on your own with the resources provided below.
Part 1: Little Fire Ants in Hawaii Presentation (45 minutes)
- Little Fire Ants in Hawaii PowerPoint: overview of invasive species in the state, impacts of LFA and video on how to collect ants for I.D.
- Hō‘ike Lesson Plan: Directions on how to conduct this the Hō‘ike LFA Activity (2-pages).
- Ant Survey Log Sheet: send this home with your students to turn in with their ant samples.
Part 2: Lab Day – Students evaluate their ant samples (30-45 minutes)
- Ants Close Up PowerPoint: brief slide show covering ant anatomy.
- Survey Location Data Sheet: Fill this out and submit to your local invasive species committee along with your ant samples.
Hō‘ike LFA Activity – Extra Resources
- On-Demand Presentation: 20-minute recorded presentation of the Little Fire Ants in Hawai‘i PowerPoint. This is prefect for distance/independent learning!
- How to Survey Your Yard for LFA Video: Fun, keiki-friendly video on how to collect & submit ant for identification.
- Little Fire Ant Worksheets: Fun word puzzles using terms learned in the Little Fire Ants in Hawai‘i PP presentation.
- Check Your Plants for Ants: Digital infographic on how to collect & submit ants for identification.
Invasive species experts are often available for classroom visits with your students.
Contact your local Invasive Species Committee for more details:
- Kauai Invasive Species Committee (KISC)
- Oahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC)
- Molokai/Maui Invasive Species Committee (MoMISC)
- Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC)
- Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC)
Original Hō‘ike Student Survey: Fire Ants and the Future of Maui Wetlands
Find more Hawai‘i specific science lessons on the Hō‘ike o Haleakalā website: www.hoikecurriculum.org