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Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities

Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities has 50 remote-ready activities, which work for either your classroom or remote teaching.

The World of Langton's Ant Forum

Welcome to the on-line forum for comments and discussion related to The World of Langton's Ant. Your thoughts may be useful to others and theirs to you, so join in and let's see what new things we can make by thinking out loud together.

Comments are posted in the order in which they are received, with earlier postings appearing first below on this page. To see the latest postings, click on "Go to last comment" below.

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langtons ant
Name: carol
Date: 2005-07-11 14:40:07
Link to this Comment: 15418

is the purpose of the experiment to d emonstrate that when an "organism "is presented with clear parameters it develops it's own hypothesis, and,an ability to reach a conclusion?An interesting observation is that it appeared when many parameters were established the 'organism"moved that much more quickly to create it's story!

Langton's Ant
Name: No Name
Date: 2005-07-11 14:42:43
Link to this Comment: 15419

The Langton's ant program is a simple four step program that an 'ant' is able 'build a road'. Although the phenomenon that causes that to happen is a rather simple one, that is a good story for the ant. If science is supposed to help us tell better stories, then why are we supposed to transfer the implications from a computerized ant, to real life? As an observer, I realize that software has rules that are not generally applicable to the real world, although patterns can be learned from them. If I want to have a best selling book on the New York Times best sellers list, I do not think I will hire a chip to sit at a keyboard, although order can be derived from chaos.

Langton's Ant
Name: Randal Hol
Date: 2005-07-11 14:47:48
Link to this Comment: 15421

It would appear to me that the behavior of the ant results from initially providing it only a few set of instructions then allowing it to behave in any manner it so desires (or is permitted). We saw something resulted and saught to bias this result based on our own previous stories. I wonder, what if we had no roads? Would we still deem this resulting behavior as purposeful?

Name: shellie
Date: 2005-07-11 14:49:19
Link to this Comment: 15422

Oh well, you can take a person to observations but you can't make them a scientist.I really did try to follow the instructions and yet I still felt lost. I am discouraged and yet I will not give up. I am a product of the education system--give me information and I will learn. Yet this is real learning and thinking --what I never learned how to do. It is hard to teach a old dog new tricks.

Langton's Ant
Name: SMichael
Date: 2005-07-11 14:51:35
Link to this Comment: 15424

Langton's Ant is thinking, inquiry, questioning and adapting to the system surrounding you. The Ant is much like the evolution and discovery process where someone tells a story based on what they observe, that someone tells the story to someone who sees discrepanices or a broader picture and/or the additions or changes to the story and new observation lead to thinking, discovery and development.

Name: mrobb
Date: 2005-07-11 14:56:35
Link to this Comment: 15425

Langdon's ant

1) Reminds me of the story of the elephant described by blind men. Each one accurately described a part, but one one described the elephant.

2) My ant undid my checkerboard pattern, turning the darks to light and the lights dark. Attractively undoing all my work.

3) Good tool for teaching conflict resolution or social science concepts - see what happens when people disagree? Notice, the new creations are not necessarily bad or less than the original.

Langston's Ant
Name: Laverne
Date: 2005-07-11 15:45:31
Link to this Comment: 15429

Langston's Ant is an activity I would love to introduce to my students because it really makes you think. I would allow my students to work in groups of about two no more than three. Sherrie, Jennifer and I came here as a team and working together allowed us to come up with many ideas.I found the activity to be exciting and the reading even more interesting. This is an activity I would definetly try to use in a class setting.

Langston's Ant
Name: sherry
Date: 2005-07-12 00:06:28
Link to this Comment: 15438

I can see this activity being used with students in both middle school and high school. Giving students a non threatening and fun way to practice fiddling expands a student's ability to think and problem solve.

The "Story"
Date: 2005-07-12 10:35:41
Link to this Comment: 15442

I like the idea of "everything being contained by the brain." It helps me to validate my thinking that people should be encouraged to express thier story as they feel fit. Paul made a statement years ago that really stuck with me and that I admit I stole from him to help explain my story. In reference to religion (I believe) he said "I dont find it suitable to explain my story." (sorry paul if I got it's reference wrong but it was the quote that stuck). One concept that I have always tried to impress upon my students is to accept and appreciate diversity. It is not anyone's job to tell a person that their story is "wrong". It's their story. You do not have to agree, but that is what makes diversity special is the ability to understand but not have to accepts another's perspective, or "story."

I feel that the implication this thinking would have on society would be to reduce the amount of prejudices, discrimination, and religious squables.

As for the discussion of science vs. religion, i think the idea that we as a group are missing is that it is not the concepts of science and religion that are arguing (they cant). Its the people who are finding the differences among them and using them as leverage against the other. There were monks who, historically, were in fact scientists and considered themselves as such. Even Ben Franklin thanked them and God for discovering beer!

Name: keith
Date: 2005-07-12 15:46:04
Link to this Comment: 15462

I think the question John posed is very important. I think the focus should not be on which one needs more attention, but how to pay more attentino to both. I feel that developing a balance is important. Remember the Renaissance? It was the idea that in order to be "well rounded" one should be able to achieve in a wide realm of fields

We have lost a lot of the hands on aspects of education such as gym, cooking, industrial arts, that help students to coordiante the two areas we have been discussing about the nervous system. We need to find ways to incorprate that line of teaching in our classrooms. Especially since the new trainn of thought is reading and math. Remember, "the brain can only learn what the fanny can endour."

New Question?
Name: Wil Frankl
Date: 2005-08-02 13:23:17
Link to this Comment: 15792

In addition to using this exhibit to think about "purpose", it can be used as well to investigate the issue of "choice". Please post a comment on what role you think choice plays in the behavior of Langton's Ant.

Langton's Ant
Name: Randal Hol
Date: 2005-08-02 13:26:08
Link to this Comment: 15793

Earlier Comment

It would appear to me that the behavior of the ant results from initially providing it only a few set of instructions then allowing it to behave in any manner it so desires (or is permitted). We saw something resulted and saught to bias this result based on our own previous stories. I wonder, what if we had no roads? Would we still deem this resulting behavior as purposeful?

langton's ant
Date: 2005-08-02 13:39:53
Link to this Comment: 15794

The ant continues to move, which can be assumed to be a choice. However, nothing about the ant appears to be of its own volition. So, what is its choice?

langstons choice
Name: Cleat
Date: 2005-08-02 13:54:52
Link to this Comment: 15795

Langstons Ant doesnt have a choice. All of its variables, directions, etc...are controlled by us. We are the pupeteers pulling the strings. Its a computer program designed by man who sets the softwares parameters.

Langton's Ant Revisited
Name: J.Odom
Date: 2005-08-02 13:54:59
Link to this Comment: 15796

Choice, Poor Langton's ant gets fewer and fewer choices as you set up road blocks. Too many choices does not always determine the outcome but limiting the choices can! Langton is experiencing the control of the spiritual being who has placed the road blocks around it and the programmer's internalized directions. Do you really think it has a real choice?

the ant's choice
Name: julie
Date: 2005-08-02 13:58:33
Link to this Comment: 15797

I think the choice that Langston's ant has is two fold; first, it continues to move, and second, it continues to "obey" the commands.

Name: mrobertson
Date: 2005-08-02 14:02:26
Link to this Comment: 15798

This time I created many more road blocks for the ant. I found the configuration of the road block, especially an enclosed form, greatly affected the ant's response. In the enclosure the ant "struggled", unable to get out. I was able to change the shape of the ant' world because my road blocks forced the ant to choose to move on one side of the world

Date: 2005-08-02 14:03:08
Link to this Comment: 15799

It seems that the ant has got coping skills to adjust to what he has to deal with to carry out his task at hand.

Behavior Choice for the Ant
Name: Ann On E'M
Date: 2005-08-02 14:03:50
Link to this Comment: 15800

Given that Langton's Ant is a computer program with a set of four simple rules that generates a complex pattern. I wonder why a computer model with could be the model for randomness? If the "purpose" of the ant is to build a bridge, than maybe the ant is really a teacher....building bridges for other "ants" to follow. Maybe the ant is a lawyer setting the legal precedent for all ants to be able to build bridges by 2015. COuld the ant be an artist...creating the word as they see it?????

Poor ant
Name: S Nadig
Date: 2005-08-02 14:06:35
Link to this Comment: 15801

The ant moves according to the choicesit is given. Only one set of choice, it moves in circle. When there are two sets of choice itmoves in rndom pattern.

Name: cynthia
Date: 2005-08-02 14:06:37
Link to this Comment: 15802


Change for change
Name: J.Odom
Date: 2005-08-03 09:10:44
Link to this Comment: 15819

I made change of $1.00, in which I had to borrow from Wil. I took two quarters, five nickels, 2 dimes, and five pennies. I really think change can be simple, changing a dollar or change can be difficult, changing the way we as teachers teach. I have made two changes today!

school, important
Name: maggern so
Date: 2005-10-24 08:50:30
Link to this Comment: 16609

can someone explain to me the problem of the ant???

A Short Story
Name: Charles Ba
Date: 2006-05-26 00:42:31
Link to this Comment: 19423

Paul Grobstein is a sadist.

Name: Cleat
Date: 2006-07-10 14:23:39
Link to this Comment: 19700

Wandering aimlessly seems to be something Langston's Ant is good at until...voila.....something happens. It seems as though the more you set and reset it, the more it seems to have a purpose or aim. We see it building so we create a roadblock to see what happens and it seemingly finds a way around it. Or is it just aimlessly running around in a different way? To my eye, it looks as if changes are being someone elses eye, who knows.

In comparing this to our classrooms, we see many of our students aimlessly trying to find their way. Some of them encounter many roadblocks and have a difficult time moving forward, others bypass them without difficulty. How as educators do we deal with this? Do we set and reset them? Do we delve inside of them to try and find a purpose or explanation? Is there one? Whats the "true" story?

Name: Angela M
Date: 2006-07-10 14:24:42
Link to this Comment: 19702

This concept was very confusing in the beginning. This is a complex idea that could be made simplistic. You could use it in the classroom depending upon the ae of your students. Being in the special education feild I wouldnt reccomend it for students under the age of 10. Langstons Ant can be fustrating idea and must be thoroughly discussed in order for children to understand the concepts. It took more than one trial to finally get the desired outcome. When you work with this you must place the barier in the right spot and be precise.

langton's ant
Name: Claudette
Date: 2006-07-10 14:25:53
Link to this Comment: 19703

when the observer interferes with the ant's pattern movement with specific barriers,the ant accelerated its pace circumvented the barrier and continued its goal for completing its specific story.

Langton's Ant
Name: Susan Dorf
Date: 2006-07-10 14:26:07
Link to this Comment: 19704

I could not help but think of a mass of cells secreting a matrix. The mass grew as a central mass until it reached a certain size. The mass added on to its periphery, alternately growing centrally as well. The mass seemed to get to a certain size, critical?, and then grew parallel linear supports (roads). The mass grew as described previously and then reached another critical size requiring more parallel linear supports. When a small roadblock was placed right above the "ant", it grew as described but put the parallel linear supports were closer together. When small roadblocks were placed on two sides of the "ant," it grew linear supports perpendicular to each other. The nature of the supporting matrix changed depending upon changes in the environment, although the degree of change may have been limited, i.e., linear supports were always produced but the parallel supports could be closer together in space and/or oriented perpendicularly. Simple directions for movement of the "ant," and simple responses programed into the "ant." However, from this simplicity, infinite possibilities.

langton's ant
Name: Sherry O.
Date: 2006-07-10 14:27:41
Link to this Comment: 19707

This was very interesting and a lot of fun. I think it will generate a lot of discussion with my students. I can see this as a starting point in several different classes.

langton's ant
Name: Sherry O.
Date: 2006-07-10 14:32:50
Link to this Comment: 19709

The Langston's Ant activity was a lot of fun. Is behavior determined by what is inside of it or what is in it's environment? Or both.

Date: 2006-07-10 14:37:06
Link to this Comment: 19710

The world of Langton'Ant was very structured and organized. He followed given directions and was able to go around barriers.This strategy might work for some children depending on their individual learning style.Personally the world of Langton's Ant made me feel very restricted and controlled.

Name: patricia m
Date: 2006-07-10 14:37:56
Link to this Comment: 19712

The world of Langton'Ant was very structured and organized. He followed given directions and was able to go around barriers.This strategy might work for some children depending on their individual learning style.Personally the world of Langton's Ant made me feel very restricted and controlled.

pedagogy in the classroom
Name: Claudette
Date: 2006-07-10 16:01:07
Link to this Comment: 19723

When you think of pedagogy in the classroom regarding the ants without a director, most schools are set up in professional learning communities. Within the classroom students work in groups without leaders based upon experiences, prior knowledge, creativity, talents, gifts, and interests. When concepts are introduced, students give their account or understanding of the topic and collectively assume responsibility for their part in completing a project. I do think each student brings individuality to a lesson/project based upon what has been introduced in school, the community, home, and teacher practices.

Forum Archived
Name: Webmaster
Date: 2007-04-26 12:15:09
Link to this Comment: 21703

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