Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ants!

No classroom is complete without a class pet. When I first started teaching I had a 30 gallon fish tank in my classroom, but a few close calls later including a frozen Jacque and 30 gallons of water on my floor, I got rid of the fish tank. After a few years of no pet I decided last year to go out on a limb and get Sea Monkeys. They have been a wonderfully easy pet and my middle school kids love them. I only have to feed them once a week, and occasionally answer a few awkward questions about why they are always riding piggy back. Well, the Sea Monkeys enjoyed their summer at the Shamrock (maybe they were inspired by all of the aquatic wildlife around them), and I brought them back to school today. This year I decided to make up for my years of no class pet and have two class pets. Today I became a proud member of the Ant Farm Club (well in 2-6 weeks I will). For $18.95 not only am I getting all of the ants that one middle school classroom needs, but I am also getting a light for my tank, a magnifying glass, ant posters and pictures, an activity book, and a membership card. I think this is a great deal. Now I just can't wait for my new little pets to arrive!  
"A formicarium is a vivarium which is designed primarily for the study of ant colonies and how ants behave. "Ant Farms," similar to these, are popular subjects for school projects. Those who study ant behavior are known as myrmecologists.
     A formicarium is usually an ant colony enclosed by a transparent box made of glass or plastic. The first commercially-sold formicarium was introduced around 1929 and patented in 1931 by Frank Austin, an inventor and professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. Austin included painted or wooden scenes of palaces, farms, and other settings above the ground level, for a whimsical look.
     The best-known formicariums are examples of "Uncle Milton's Ant Farm," for which the ants are sent to the purchaser through the mail, upon receipt of the coupon enclosed with the Ant Farm. The educational toy is made by Uncle Milton Industries in Westlake Village, California, and has sold over 20 million Ant Farms since 1956 and which owns the brand name "Ant Farm". This type of formicarium is for observing worker ants and its effectiveness in serious ant propagation is limited." (wikipedia)

Enjoy ~SJ

1 comment:

Ken said...

hope they like peaches and toilet paper, I guess only time will tell....