Monday, March 15, 2010

The Ant's Nest: A Huge, Underground City

Bearport Publishing has released a series of books called Spectacular Animal Towns which focus on teaching readers how animals maintain their communities and all the intricacies of such a community.  The Ant's Nest is full of facts about building ant nests, taking care of the queen, warding off enemies, and several other fascinating topics. There are about two paragraphs for each topic which is a perfect size of text for students looking for information and not necessarily wanting to read an entire narrative. Miriam Aronin has selected interesting topics and information that is probably little-known to your students. For example, did you know about dairy ants? They "milk" aphids for honeydew which is a sweet liquid that is an important food source for the dairy ants.  These ants fight off ladybugs which are predators of aphids and bite the wings of the aphids to keep them from flying away.  This is the kind of information that keeps readers interested and willing to share what they have learned.  Throw in great photographs with tons of text features (index, glossary, tables, labels) and you have a book that will be checked out often.

The Ant's Nest would be a good book to use for learning how to write a research report or for a science read-aloud. Since it's nonfiction, you can pick and choose which sections to read.

Bearport has created a website devoted to resources related to the Spectacular Animal Towns series.  There is a ton of good information on this site.

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