TBT: Inquiry with Termites

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2009. This is my absolute favorite thing to do with kids. I might even be the “colleague” referenced by Mr. Kessler. I originally did this activity based on an inquiry activity in the BSCS: Biology- A Human Approach (the black one) textbook. I’ll use this with my Biology students this week, and next week at Parent/Teacher Night with their parents- I can give them my contact information on paper… but an exploration seems like a more enjoyable way to spend our 10 minutes together!  -AMI


Before the weekend, I received an e-mail from a colleague asking “Do you know of a good place I can go gather termites… anywhere woody?”

I responded with my suggestions, and because I was intrigued, I replied with a question of my own, “What do you plan to do with them?”

Well, after a making my own way through portions of two decaying logs, and acquiring some special and not-so-special writing utensils, see what we ended up witnessing by watching the following videos…

  1. Termite and paper (30 sec.)
  2. Termite, paper, and pencil drawn Infinity (30 sec.)
  3. Termite, paper, and Sanford Uniball Black drawn Infinity (30 sec.)
  4. Termite, paper, and Papermate Red drawn Infinity (30 sec.)
  5. Termite, paper, and Papermate Red drawn Spiral (30 sec.)

Sorry for the out-of-focus imagery but I hope these 2.5 minutes of observation motivate you as much as they did us before we introduced these creature to our classes today!  Experiment with other colors, other writing utensils, and after your exploration is complete have fun googling to see what is already known about the behavior you witnessed.

Happy Inquiry!