A is for Ants…Home-scholars get ant-smart the Iimbovane way Print

In April 2013 the Iimbovane Outreach Project hosted, in collaboration with the Table Mountain National Park’s Environmental Education Programme, two workshops for a group of home-schooled learners.

The home-schooler’s club, Hoerikwaggo Kids Club, meet once a month with the Park’s education officer to do in-depth study on the fauna and flora of the area. The club has been split into two groups due to huge demand from the home-schooling community for nature-based education. Both workshops took place at Cape Point’s Visitors Centre and were attended by approximately 50 learners.

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“Ants” was the topic for April and who knows more about ants than Iimbovane! The team arrived to a room full of excited youngsters between the ages of 4 and 12 years. The team started off with a practical session where learners had to memorise and point out the three main parts of an ant’s body, namely the head, alitrunc and gaster. It was then off to the microscopes and magnifying glasses for first-hand experience. Learners were shown a number of different species which they had to tell apart between using descriptive words. Learners were spot on with their descriptions and had a lot of fun describing the large ant with lots of gold hair on its gaster, or otherwise known as Camponotus fulvopilosus.

Learners were further entertained with fascinating facts about ants, the life in an ant nest, ants relationships with other insects and the importance of ants in our ecosystems. The team made the facts come alive by showing the learners a number of short movie clips about ants.

For the last part of the workshop, the learners went outside with the challenge to see how many ant species they could find. The learners left no stone unturned and every tree around the Visitor Centre was carefully checked for ants.

At the end of the workshop, the team were congratulated by the moms and dads who joined the day’s activities. They found the workshop very educational and were fascinated by what they have learned about ants.

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