Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Ants: Social Insects and Farmers


National Middle School Science Standards

Life Science

Key Terms

ant, social insect, adaptation, eusocial, agriculture, phylogeny

Key Concepts

  • Social insect characteristics
  • How leaf-cutter ants do agriculture
  • Evolution of ant farming
  • What scientists learn from phylogeny
  • Parallels between ant and human farming

Resource Types

Entomology Subject Guide Smithsonian Libraries

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Ants as Social Insects and Farmers teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations.

Life Science

MS-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  • MS-LS1-4 Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively.

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-2 Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.

  • MS-LS4-4 Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals' probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.

Resource Type
Subject Guides
Grade Level
Learning Standards
Next Generation Science Standards
Life Science