On Tuesday, September 24th, Susan Shrum’s 6th grade class was visited by ant scientist, Jacob Hornfeldt. Jacob engaged students in why it is important to study ants. He stated, “Many people dislike ants, but they serve so many purposes in our ecosystems, like soil aeration and decomposition.”

Jacob went on to discuss how Dr. Lucky’s lab works with ants. Students’ eyes widened during an unforgettable moment when Jacob discussed how ants are captured for study by ‘sucking’ them up using a contraption called the pooter.

Ant scienitst, Jacob, speaks on the importance of ants to classroom
Scientist, Jacob Hornfeldt, fielding questions asked by 6th grade students in Susan Shrum’s classroom.

The students even had a chance to feel an enlarged 3D print of an ant’s head, as well as view ants through a microscope brought from UF. The visit finished with a Q & A session.

Jacob was able to answer questions like:

  • “How do they build their mounds?”
  • “Why are ants different colors?”
  • “What do they eat?”
  • “Are all queen ants the same size?”
  • “How big is an ant compared to dice?”

Susan Shrum will continue the conversation by having students collect fire ants from their yards to send to University of Florida to become part of the data collected for Dr. Lucky’s team.