You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Not your average ant farm
If you thought you’d have to go to outer space to get away from those pesky ants, you might want to think again. About 800 pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum) set out on a journey Jan. 9 to the International Space Station (ISS) for a science project that elementary and secondary school students can participate in on Earth. The ants are the next in a series of organisms that have been sent to space as a part of a project by Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Educational Outreach in coordination with BioServe Space Technologies of the University of Colorado Boulder, NASA, and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space. Scientific expertise on ant behavior is being provided by Stanford University.
The aim of the project is to see how ants behave in microgravity when they explore habitats of different sizes, according to Dr. Nancy Moreno, professor at Baylor’s Center for Educational Outreach.
Ants have very interesting social behaviors. Research has shown that ant colonies operate without central control. Instead, the complex behaviors of members of the colony result from ant-to-ant interactions. The experiment will help determine whether these behaviors change in microgravity.
The ants were sent to the space station in eight separate compartments with about 100 ants per compartment. Once there, the compartments will be opened to see how the ants explore new sections of their habitats. The experiment will include about 60 minutes of video footage per compartment. Both the video and an educational guide will be available free online for teachers and students.
Baylor’s Center for Educational Outreach developed a classroom version of the habitat, which enables students to conduct their own investigations on Earth. Students can view footage of the ants on the space station and compare their behavior to the behavior of the control group of ants in their classroom.
Previously, the Center has worked on projects to send butterflies, spiders, and plants to space to observe their behaviors in microgravity.
“The most important finding from an educational perspective is that teachers and students will participate in authentic science investigations if given the opportunity. When you provide teachers with an exciting, real-world project, they will find the time to integrate it into their curriculum,” said Moreno.
For more information on the experiment and to download the free teacher’s guide, visit www.bioedonline.com.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
The 411: Youth Archives
FHS May students of the month (May 25, 2016)
FSE names conservation contest winners (May 25, 2016)
Guerrero named to Who’s Who (May 25, 2016)
Hernandez earns bachelor’s from SLU (May 25, 2016)
Medina graduates from Temple College (May 25, 2016)
Perez makes McMurry dean’s list (May 25, 2016)
Sara Strey Foundation names scholarship recipients (May 25, 2016)
Story Time begins June 6 (May 25, 2016)
TLU releases 2016 dean’s, president’s list (May 25, 2016)
Area students graduate from TAMU-Kingsville (May 18, 2016)
Area students named Father Moczygemba scholarship winners (May 18, 2016)
Beta Gamma Sigma inducts Lyssy (May 18, 2016)
Darr, Jarzombek initiated into Phi Kappa Phi (May 18, 2016)
East Central ACE team shares ideas with UTSA (May 18, 2016)
Falls City Library Summer Reading program (May 18, 2016)
Moore earn’s master’s from Mary Hardin-Baylor (May 18, 2016)
Nixon-Smiley students reach for the stars (May 18, 2016)
Perez is a McMurry University grad (May 18, 2016)
Stockdale Elementary School honor roll (May 18, 2016)
Tooth decay prevention kits (May 18, 2016)
4-H Rabies Clinic (May 11, 2016)
Apply to U.S. service academies (May 11, 2016)
LeAnn Yelton receives SSFCU scholarship (May 11, 2016)
LV Odyssey of the Mind teams claim state victory (May 11, 2016)
Poth Honor Rolls (May 11, 2016)
Rocketry teams are grand champions! (May 11, 2016)
SA Zoo celebrates military (May 11, 2016)
Stockdale Elementary School pre-k registration is May 19 (May 11, 2016)
Brothers face off in tie-breaker ‘bug-off’ (May 4, 2016)
Catch rising stars in action (May 4, 2016)
FHS April students of the month (May 4, 2016)
Fun, learning at AVID family night (May 4, 2016)
High School Art Show is May 14 (May 4, 2016)
Junior Historians demo ecology for Earth Day (May 4, 2016)
Register for 4-H summer camps (May 4, 2016)
Register now for May 14 Archery Day (May 4, 2016)