Second Graders and an Ant’s View of the Library

By the Integrated Learning and Information Science Department
During their Integrated Learning and Information Science (ILIS) time in November, 2nd graders created virtual reality worlds from an ant’s point of view, making connections with their classroom work on mapping, direction and perspectives.

The project started with reading the book Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg, which follows the adventures of two ants that get into a house to find more sugar to bring back to their colony. The ants make the wrong decision and decide to stay in the house, and they end up getting themselves into some difficult situations before making it home safe. As we were reading the book, students focused on the descriptions of the setting from the perspective of the ants: tall grass was a forest of huge trees, morning coffee was a lake of hot brown liquid, and the kitchen faucet was a gushing waterfall. Second graders used clues in the writing and illustrations to figure out where the ants were in the kitchen as they were getting into trouble.

Next, 2nd graders had to imagine what the Kovler Family Library would look like from the perspective of ants. Students were spread out throughout the library. They examined different parts of the library from different points of view, looking up close at the bookcases and furniture and getting down on the floor under the LEGO table. They sketched out their ideas of the ants-eye views of the library on a special panoramic grid paper. Once students finished their sketches, they colored in their pictures, focusing on the details. Then they moved on to create their virtual worlds.

Students used the camera on their iPads to take pictures of their panoramic grid paper drawings. Then they learned to use the editing features in the camera to crop their drawings. Next, students were introduced to the app CoSpaces, a program that allows students to create their own virtual 3D and 360-degree worlds. Students uploaded their 360 drawings into the virtual world, then learned how to add 3D objects to add more details to their virtual ant worlds. They also learned how to code their objects to move to make their worlds more engaging.

Finally, each 2nd grade class had a share-out day. Students used Google devices and VR viewers to experience their virtual ant’s view of the library and see the worlds that their classmates created. They did an amazing job thinking like an ant and adding all the details of the library from an ant’s perspective. They also had so much fun sharing their worlds and experiencing the worlds their classmates created.

Click here for photos and video of this unit.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.