by Kirsti Abbott & Kate Lafferty
I think it would be fair to say that when the extension students at Deepdene Primary School in Melbourne first started their School of Ants experience they were sceptical. They very deliberately told us that they thought ants “were just tiny brown and black things that get into your sugar. What on earth could we learn about them that is interesting?” And we nodded, smiled and proceeded with what would be a turning point in their respect for not only ants, but little things that we so often miss in our busy, upward looking lives. Those very same, sceptical kids had changed their tune after 10 weeks to “ants are the most amazing creatures alive!”, and “I never imagined that ants would be so diverse and interesting”.
Mesmerised by the end of the introductory session, Harley was asking about zombie ants, Patrick was intrigued by slave-making ants, and most of them were in awe of swimming ants, gliding ants, turtle ants, leaf cutter ants and Martialis heureka. Seriously – learning that someone named a biological organism because they thought it looked like a martian?! Kids love that stuff!