Ants are an essential part of recycling in nature. They strip the dead bodies that would otherwise leave our gardens stinking. They also play a key role in spreading the seeds of some plants.
Precautions: Ant bites can be unpleasant, though in some cases, they can be life-threatening. Smaller ants are usually less of a threat, but students should be encouraged to be nice to the ants, and not get too close to them. This is generally better done out-of-doors, unless you want ants in the classroom!
Warn your students that anything longer than 1 cm may be painful. If you live in an area where fire ants are known, maybe you should forget this idea.
What you need: Several dishes, some honey and a small scrap of meat. As a rule, ants will be attracted to the meat if they have both choices, according to the experts. You also need a device, a Go Micro and some pale blue cloth or card.
Sources: Try laying small baits around in the school grounds, things like bits of meat or small jar lids with honey. The ants will come!
Find some ants and photograph them, if possible, on the piece of cloth or cardboard. If you can find an ant trail, lay the cloth or cardboard down, and photograph the ants crossing it.
Choose the best pictures, and decide as a group how many different ant types there are.
These ants were slightly less than 1 cm long, and caught and released on North Head, where I do bush regeneration.
This deadly (to ants) bait can be made without the boric acid, to safely attract ants: https://www.boricacid.net.au/old-faithful-sugar-ant-bait-recipe-boric-acid
Explore with Peter Discovering Ants