Truman’s Aunt Farm

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Aunt Fran sends Truman a coupon for an ant farm for his birthday, but when he tries to redeem it, he is sent more than fifty aunts instead.

My sister actually bought the boys our little ant farm a year or two ago for a birthday or Christmas, which is totally ironic and fitting since it is Truman’s aunt who gives him the ant coupon for his birthday in the story.  Anywho, we finally got around to “rowing” this cute little story and used our coupon from Aunt Gigi to send in for our ants.  After the first batch of ants arrived dead (it was still over one hundred degrees outside in September when they came), our second batch was alive and we were so excited!

When daddy got home that night, we gave him the honor of setting up the ant farm and dealing with the ants.  🙂20130930_192015

First we poured in the special sand.  (I use the term “we” here pretty loosely!)

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Then we added a little bit of water for moisture.

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Conner created the main tunnel with his poker stick.

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Then everybody (mostly just me) jumped back and cringed as daddy poured the ants in.

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We watched them for a few minutes before putting them up somewhere safe that little crazy people (like Barrett) couldn’t reach.

Every three days we brought them down to give them food, water, and observe their progress.

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I have to say it was pretty fascinating just to watch them work!

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The strongest ants lived for about 3 weeks, although some started dying before that.  It was interesting to see that they actually buried the dead ants down at the bottom of the sand.  Sometime during the third week, our little Logan went into the hospital with a kidney infection and we kind of forgot about those of our poor little ants that were left.  At the end of that week, they were all dead.

Moving on!

Social Studies:

The story didn’t specify the exact location of the setting, but definitely seemed like it would take place in America, so we put our story disk over the United States.

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The boys also wrote letters to their Aunts.  Conner chose to write his letter to his Aunt Gigi…

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And Logan chose to write his letter to his Aunt Kiki…

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Logan and Aunt Kiki have a special bond these days.  🙂

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It wasn’t long before Aunt Gigi and Aunt Kiki wrote back…

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The boys were very excited to get letters in the mail!

Language Arts:

We learned about homophones.  Homophones are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and mean different things.  The obvious example in this story would be ant/aunt, but we also talked about some other ones, which were listed in the manual…

stair/stare

hair/hare

rain/reign

stake/steak

bare/bear

pray/prey

mail/male

plain/plane

These language arts activities are ones the boys almost never enjoy or remember well, but I expose them to it briefly anyways, and perhaps it can help new synapses form in their brains for later.   🙂

Math:

We read the story 100 Hungry Ants and used our 100 unifix cubes to practice counting/multiplication, similar to the way the ants march in the story.

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First it’s one row of 100.

Then they divide into two lines of 50.

Then 4 lines of 25.

5 lines of 20.

And finally, 10 lines of 10.

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Science:

Aside from the wonderful experience of having live ants to study, we also read Ant Cities, which gave us more info about the lives of ants.

AND, we tried an experiment I found on Pinterest a while back…

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Apparently, some ants have clear abdomens and when they drink colored water, their abdomens turn that color.

Well, we either had the wrong ants or the wrong sugar solution.

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Our ants just seemed to drown in the liquid and we kept having to rescue them out.  None of them ever turned colors.  We tried food coloring with powdered sugar, food coloring with coconut oil, and food coloring with milk.  I don’t actually have any regular white granulated sugar in the house, so we weren’t able to use that one (which is what the experiment actually calls for).

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Kind of a bust, but oh well.

Food/Fun:

We played the Ants in the Pants game, just for fun.

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And we also went to the park to have a picnic lunch with Nana and Aunt Gigi (and my new nephew Cody!).

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As part of our picnic lunch, I made Ants on a Log (celery with peanut butter and raisins).

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My mom and sister brought the rest of the food.  Whenever we get together, even though I tend to bring the majority of the food-consumers with me, my mom and sister always seem to bring most of the food.  I usually get by with just bringing a fruit or vegetable to add to the mix.  Funny how that works out.  😉

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