Kingdom of Bugs
Before the Empire State Building, before the Taj Mahal, insects have been dominating architecture all over the world. From cool to complex, learn how bug homes have inspired humans to become better and more efficient builders.
what you’ll need
- A computer, tablet, or mobile phone and access to the internet
- Pens, pencils, markers, colored pencils
- Sidewalk chalk
Ask About Today
What are some interesting insect homes you learned about today? What materials did the insects use to create them?
If you were dropped into the middle of a forest, you would probably want to build a shelter right away. How would you do it?
Skip the Ads
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Human beings aren't the only species on the planet building skyscrapers. Did you know termites built them first?
Home Sweet (Termite) Home
Enter a termite mound to see how they build these tall and temperature-controlled structures.
Remember: Online videos often start with advertisements. (Annoying, we agree!) Click the "Skip" button as soon as you can to move ahead to the video.
An ant colony is a complex community with different relationships and jobs. Go inside one to see how ants communicate and build their world.
Watch these ants build a bridge in midair using just their own bodies. Quite a feat of engineering, right?
For younger explorers
Visit the Ant Hill
What's in an ant hill? Watch this video to see what's happening deep underground.
Time to design and build a structure all your own...if you can do it without eating the materials first.
Draw inspiration from the insect world to build your own inventive structure. The catch? Your only tools are marshmallows and toothpicks.
Insects make for quite innovative architects. Dive into these unexpected facts about bug building. Do the answers surprise you?
Wasp Nests 101
Wasps use paper to build their nests, but where do they get it from? (Clearly, they can't shop at Target.) First, make your own prediction. Then find out the truth.
Meet the Weaver Ant
For younger explorers
Roberto, the Insect Architect
Meet Roberto, the Insect Architect, in today's read-aloud.
Building like an insect requires ingenuity, engineering, and math. Get to work!
Escape the Grid
As you’ve seen, insects are smart engineers. Try your hand at this engineering game, where you'll have to help the red block escape the grid. (Trust us: It's harder than it looks.)
Try to match these animals up by dragging them to their pairs. To master this game, you'll have to make the lines between the animal pairs touch all the shapes in the picture.
Time to whip out the sidewalk chalk!
Insect Art Gallery
Look at these sidewalk designs dedicated to bugs for inspiration, then draw your own masterpiece in front of your home. You might even want to ask your neighbors (from a distance) to join in on the fun—then take a walk down the block to admire all the bug-inspired artwork.
Stay Safe: Please remember to stay socially distanced while you're out and about.
more to explore
Fan of insect architecture? Explore some more!
Learning From Termites
Meet an architect who used an important lesson from termite mounds to create a natural cooling system in a building in Zimbabwe.
These 10 different ant structures will surprise and amaze you.
Build Your Own...Anything!
Insects use materials from their environments to build their homes. If you're into building things, here are some more ideas for how to be an innovative architect using stuff from around your own home.