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Group Behavior and Social Insects (with perishables)

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Cooperative foraging behaviors exhibited by 2 different social insects, honey bees and termites, is the investigative phenomenon. Students identify forms of communication used by these insects then develop an experimental plan to investigate how termites communicate with other members of their colony. After documenting their experimental findings, students construct explanations of how termite communication and cooperation among individuals enhances individual survivorship. Like scientific researchers, students then collaboratively share hypotheses and discuss results, using evidence to support their arguments.

Time Requirement
Total, 7 to 9 50-minute class periods. Teacher prep, 1 hour; pre-lab, 1 class period. Design and perform experiments, 4 to 5 class periods. Share results, 1 to 2 class periods. Assessment, 1 class period.

Digital Resources
Includes 1-year access to digital resources that support 3-dimensional instruction for NGSS. Digital resources may include a teacher manual and student guide, pre-lab activities and setup videos, phenomenon videos, simulations, and post-lab analysis and assessments.

Performance Expectation(s)

Crosscutting Concepts
Cause and Effect

Disciplinary Core Ideas
LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior

Science and Engineering Practices
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Learning Objectives

  • Make a claim, supported by evidence, about the role of observed behaviors in social insects.
  • Design an experiment that examines a potential hypothesis for termite pen-following behavior.
  • Graph the findings of their experiment and present their results to the class.
  • Use evidence to argue how cooperative behaviors of social insects enhance survivorship.

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills
Students need to have basic familiarity with handling live insects and knowledge of experimental design, including terms such as "dependent variable," "independent variable," "replication," and "control."


Shipping Information or Purchase Restrictions
  • Exclamation icon USDA or USDOT regulations restrict this item from shipping to these locations: Arizona, Oregon. Canadian customers must apply for a Canada Dept. of Agriculture permit. This item contains living or perishable material and ships via 2nd Day or Overnight delivery.
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