This article and resources for teachers outlines a series of 4th grade lessons on structure and function in which students observe ants and develop design ideas inspired by nature. 

“Who Is Your Champion?,” written by Caryn Walker, Roberta L. Ethington, and Alyssa Y. Stark, appeared in the NSTA journal Science and Children (Vol. 53, No. 9, Summer 2016). It describes a series of 4th grade lessons on structure and function and engineering design and provides resources to support teachers replicating the lessons in their classroom.

In the first two lessons, students are guided to observe ants in their natural habitat and (gently) experiment with them in the classroom. In the second two lessons students apply their growing understanding of structure and function by looking to other organisms for ideas to design nature-inspired solutions to everyday problems.

The article provides connections to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Common Core standards for ELA/Literacy.  The [email protected] website provides additional detailed annotations outlining how the project aligns to NGSS Performance Expectation 4-LS1-1, with ideas to strengthen the alignment.