Create an ant farm scienc experiment : Fizzics Education


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Create an ant farm

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

  • You can buy ant farm kits online but below are the simple materials you could also use:
  • Two jars with screw top lid, one larger than the other
  • A dark cloth
  • An insect pooter to collect the ants (instructions here)
  • Choose a soil with a bit of texture so the tunnels don’t collapse (a sandy loam would be ideal).
  • A water sprayer (atomizer) to keep the soil moist.
  • Fruit slices to feed the ants.


Get student activity sheets as blackline masters - $4

Create an ant farm science experiment - materials needed
1 Create an ant farm science experiment - mixing the soil and sand together

“Collecting soil from the garden”

When looking after your ants you can use a water spray (atomizer) to keep the soil a little bit moist… but don’t drown them!

Prepare the soil for your ants. You want the soil to be loose enough for them to tunnel but not so loose that the tunnel collapses. try mixing 2 parts clay with 1 part sand if you don’t have a comparable soil nearby. You can collect soil from your garden or alternatively use a little bit of potting mix and some sand from the gardening store.

2 Create an ant farm science experiment - adding the smaller jar into the larger jar

Place a small jar inside a larger jar. This creates a small gap where the ants will burrow through the soil and allow you to see their intricate tunnels.

3 Create an ant farm science experiment - small jar surrounded by soil

“Some different soil horizon models being used for the ant farms”

Pour the soil mixture into the gap between the two jars. If you want you could alternate soil textures to demonstrate different soil horizons as well as to create an avenue for variable testing.

4 Create an ant farm science experiment - using a insect pooter

“Using an insect pooter to catch a small ant”

Using an insect pooter to catch a line of ants

5 Create an ant farm science experiment - holes in the lid

When you add your ants to your ant farm make sure that the lid is secured so they can’t get out. You should tiny holes in the lid to allow oxygen into the container.

6 Create an ant farm science experiment - cut apple slices

Cut apple slices for the ants to eat

Don’t forget to feed your ants! They love pieces of fruit as the fruit contains a variety of sugars that they need to grow. Just be sure to only give small amounts of fruit or you could introduce mould into your ant farm (if not everything is being eaten you’re feeding the ants too much food). Don’t be tempted to give them meat as rotten meat is a health hazard and could bring other pests into your ant farm.

7 Create an ant farm science experiment - jar wrapped in black cloth

Finally, cover your ant farm with a cloth to simulate the darkness of being underground. This will mean that they will more likely burrow near the sides of the container. Also, keep the ants in a warm location but out of direct sunlight (the container will heat up too much otherwise).

8 Create an ant farm science experiment - writing down observations

Take regular observations of the ant farm tunnels as the days progress. This might be a great time to write a student blog!

9 Create an ant farm science experiment - returning ants to garden

At the end of your experiment please release the ants back where you found them (no need for them to die!).

10 5 student worksheets on creating an insect collection
12 Teacher showing how to do an experiment outside to a group of kids.

Online courses for teachers & parents

– Help students learn how science really works

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More Information

Ant farms need to be cared for. You can feed your ants food such as vegetable and fruit scraps or even dried cat food (avoid fresh meat). Don’t place the ant farm in strong direct sunlight or you will overheat the ant farm. If you’re not sure about the species of ant that you have, you can check with a local museum (avoid collecting ants that will sting you!).

Classroom activity sheets for this experiment

Create, reflect & extend!

5 student worksheets on creating an insect collection

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Learn more!

From basic ecology to digital microscopy, we’ve got your living things unit covered!
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