Photography lesson

Lesson of the day: “Let’s now praise the little ants”

If you can’t find ants where you live, you can watch them online on the Iowa State University Insect Zoo’s Ant Camera.

Then respond to the following prompts:

  • What do you notice ? What interesting behaviors or patterns have you observed?

  • What do you wonder? What other questions about ants and their behavior have arisen from your observations?

Finally, review your observation notes, then formulate an “inquiry question”; develop a hypothesis or design an experiment for further study.

Option 2: Watch a ScienceTake video.

How do ants avoid traffic jams? Why do ants go to war? What makes them such good architects?

From 2013 to 2019, The Times regularly released weekly ScienceTake videos, short films that combined cutting-edge research from the world of science with stunning images of the natural world in action. During this period, The Times created nearly a dozen films about ants. Choose a movie to watch below, then answer the following prompts:

What new things have you learned about ants? What moments stood out? What did you find most fascinating or surprising? How did the video add or change your understanding or view of ant life and behavior? What questions do you still have about the tiny creatures we share our world with?

Option 3: “Let’s rent other little things now” — photographing something neglected due to its size.

What things do you take for granted because of their size or ubiquity – sidewalks and roads, telephone or power lines, blades of grass under your feet, clusters of clouds above you?

Photograph something around you that is overlooked due to physical size or distance. Just like Mr. Niga does with his photos of ants, think about how you can make the familiar unfamiliar, the strange intimate, or the ordinary extraordinary.

Then add supporting and explanatory text: what is it about the size or distance of these objects that makes them easy to ignore? What role do they play in your life and in our world? Why should we stop to notice and appreciate them?

Answers to the warm-up quiz: 1) d; 2) d; 3) b; 4)c; 5)c


Learn more about today’s lesson here and find all of our daily lessons in this column.