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Though so very small, the ant is unbelievably intelligent
and  hard-working.
Among the various kinds, the commonest ant is black
or red.
Ants live in comfortable homes called ‘anthills’.
NAME the smallest insect you have seen, and the wisest. Is
it the fly? No, it isn’t. Is it the mosquito? No, not the
mosquito. Then it must be the worm. No, none of these. It
is the ant—the commonest, the smallest but the wisest
insect. The story of an ant’s life sounds almost untrue. But
people have kept ants as pets, and have watched their daily
behaviour closely. So we know a number of facts about
this tiny, hard-working and intelligent creature.
An ant uses its feelers or antennae to ‘talk’ to other
ants by passing messages through them. Watch a row of
ants moving up or down the wall. Each ant greets all the
others coming from the opposite direction by touching
their feelers.
Reprint 2024-25
Page 2


Though so very small, the ant is unbelievably intelligent
and  hard-working.
Among the various kinds, the commonest ant is black
or red.
Ants live in comfortable homes called ‘anthills’.
NAME the smallest insect you have seen, and the wisest. Is
it the fly? No, it isn’t. Is it the mosquito? No, not the
mosquito. Then it must be the worm. No, none of these. It
is the ant—the commonest, the smallest but the wisest
insect. The story of an ant’s life sounds almost untrue. But
people have kept ants as pets, and have watched their daily
behaviour closely. So we know a number of facts about
this tiny, hard-working and intelligent creature.
An ant uses its feelers or antennae to ‘talk’ to other
ants by passing messages through them. Watch a row of
ants moving up or down the wall. Each ant greets all the
others coming from the opposite direction by touching
their feelers.
Reprint 2024-25
2
An Alien Hand
There are many kinds of ants. The commonest among
them are the black or red ones. We have seen them since
we were children, but haven’t paid enough attention to
them. Where do they live? In their
comfortable homes called ‘nests’ or
‘anthills’. Each has hundreds of little
rooms and passages. In some of these
rooms the queen ant lays eggs. Others
are nurseries for the young ones
(called ‘grubs’). Workers have their
Reprint 2024-25
Page 3


Though so very small, the ant is unbelievably intelligent
and  hard-working.
Among the various kinds, the commonest ant is black
or red.
Ants live in comfortable homes called ‘anthills’.
NAME the smallest insect you have seen, and the wisest. Is
it the fly? No, it isn’t. Is it the mosquito? No, not the
mosquito. Then it must be the worm. No, none of these. It
is the ant—the commonest, the smallest but the wisest
insect. The story of an ant’s life sounds almost untrue. But
people have kept ants as pets, and have watched their daily
behaviour closely. So we know a number of facts about
this tiny, hard-working and intelligent creature.
An ant uses its feelers or antennae to ‘talk’ to other
ants by passing messages through them. Watch a row of
ants moving up or down the wall. Each ant greets all the
others coming from the opposite direction by touching
their feelers.
Reprint 2024-25
2
An Alien Hand
There are many kinds of ants. The commonest among
them are the black or red ones. We have seen them since
we were children, but haven’t paid enough attention to
them. Where do they live? In their
comfortable homes called ‘nests’ or
‘anthills’. Each has hundreds of little
rooms and passages. In some of these
rooms the queen ant lays eggs. Others
are nurseries for the young ones
(called ‘grubs’). Workers have their
Reprint 2024-25
3
The Tiny Teacher
reserved quarters. They spend most of their time searching
for food. Some rooms serve as storehouses for this food.
Soldiers have separate barracks. No worker has ever tried
to live in a soldier’s house; no soldier has ever gone out
searching for food. No worker or soldier or cleaner has ever
harmed a grub. So you see, an ant’s life is very peaceful.
Each does its share of work intelligently and bravely, and
never fights with other members of the group.
1. The story of an ant’s life sounds almost untrue.
The italicised phrase means
(i) highly exaggerated.
(ii) too remarkable to be true.
(iii) not based on facts.
2. Complete the following sentences.
(i) An ant is the smallest,——————————————
———————————————————————
——————————————————————
(ii) We know a number of facts about an ant’s life because
——————————————————————
——————————————————————
3. In what ways is an ant’s life peaceful?
The queen ant has a pair of wings, which she casts off
before she begins to lay eggs.
Eggs hatch and become grubs, grubs change into  cocoons,
and cocoons break to bring forth complete ants.
The life of an ordinary ant in the anthill is a book which
many of us seldom open.
The queen is the mother of the entire population of the
colony. It lives for about fifteen years. It has a pair of wings,
Reprint 2024-25
Page 4


Though so very small, the ant is unbelievably intelligent
and  hard-working.
Among the various kinds, the commonest ant is black
or red.
Ants live in comfortable homes called ‘anthills’.
NAME the smallest insect you have seen, and the wisest. Is
it the fly? No, it isn’t. Is it the mosquito? No, not the
mosquito. Then it must be the worm. No, none of these. It
is the ant—the commonest, the smallest but the wisest
insect. The story of an ant’s life sounds almost untrue. But
people have kept ants as pets, and have watched their daily
behaviour closely. So we know a number of facts about
this tiny, hard-working and intelligent creature.
An ant uses its feelers or antennae to ‘talk’ to other
ants by passing messages through them. Watch a row of
ants moving up or down the wall. Each ant greets all the
others coming from the opposite direction by touching
their feelers.
Reprint 2024-25
2
An Alien Hand
There are many kinds of ants. The commonest among
them are the black or red ones. We have seen them since
we were children, but haven’t paid enough attention to
them. Where do they live? In their
comfortable homes called ‘nests’ or
‘anthills’. Each has hundreds of little
rooms and passages. In some of these
rooms the queen ant lays eggs. Others
are nurseries for the young ones
(called ‘grubs’). Workers have their
Reprint 2024-25
3
The Tiny Teacher
reserved quarters. They spend most of their time searching
for food. Some rooms serve as storehouses for this food.
Soldiers have separate barracks. No worker has ever tried
to live in a soldier’s house; no soldier has ever gone out
searching for food. No worker or soldier or cleaner has ever
harmed a grub. So you see, an ant’s life is very peaceful.
Each does its share of work intelligently and bravely, and
never fights with other members of the group.
1. The story of an ant’s life sounds almost untrue.
The italicised phrase means
(i) highly exaggerated.
(ii) too remarkable to be true.
(iii) not based on facts.
2. Complete the following sentences.
(i) An ant is the smallest,——————————————
———————————————————————
——————————————————————
(ii) We know a number of facts about an ant’s life because
——————————————————————
——————————————————————
3. In what ways is an ant’s life peaceful?
The queen ant has a pair of wings, which she casts off
before she begins to lay eggs.
Eggs hatch and become grubs, grubs change into  cocoons,
and cocoons break to bring forth complete ants.
The life of an ordinary ant in the anthill is a book which
many of us seldom open.
The queen is the mother of the entire population of the
colony. It lives for about fifteen years. It has a pair of wings,
Reprint 2024-25
4
An Alien Hand
but bites them off after its ‘wedding’ flight. This flight takes
place on a hot summer day. The queen leaves the nest and
goes out to meet a male ant, or drone, high up in the air.
On its return to earth, it gets rid of its wings and then does
nothing but lay eggs.
Eggs hatch and grubs come out. Soldiers guard them.
Workers feed and clean them, and also carry them about
daily for airing, exercise and sunshine. Two or three weeks
later, grubs become cocoons and lie without food or activity
for three weeks more. Then the cocoons break and perfect
ants appear. Now it’s time for teaching and training. New
ants learn their duties from old ants as workers, soldiers,
builders, cleaners, etc. After a few weeks’ training, the small
ants are ready to go out into the
big world of work.
An anthill is a home not only
for ants but also for some other
creatures—beetles, lesser breeds
of ants and the greenfly. Why do
ants want these alien creatures
to live in their nests? For several
reasons: some give off smell
pleasant to the ants’ senses;
Reprint 2024-25
Page 5


Though so very small, the ant is unbelievably intelligent
and  hard-working.
Among the various kinds, the commonest ant is black
or red.
Ants live in comfortable homes called ‘anthills’.
NAME the smallest insect you have seen, and the wisest. Is
it the fly? No, it isn’t. Is it the mosquito? No, not the
mosquito. Then it must be the worm. No, none of these. It
is the ant—the commonest, the smallest but the wisest
insect. The story of an ant’s life sounds almost untrue. But
people have kept ants as pets, and have watched their daily
behaviour closely. So we know a number of facts about
this tiny, hard-working and intelligent creature.
An ant uses its feelers or antennae to ‘talk’ to other
ants by passing messages through them. Watch a row of
ants moving up or down the wall. Each ant greets all the
others coming from the opposite direction by touching
their feelers.
Reprint 2024-25
2
An Alien Hand
There are many kinds of ants. The commonest among
them are the black or red ones. We have seen them since
we were children, but haven’t paid enough attention to
them. Where do they live? In their
comfortable homes called ‘nests’ or
‘anthills’. Each has hundreds of little
rooms and passages. In some of these
rooms the queen ant lays eggs. Others
are nurseries for the young ones
(called ‘grubs’). Workers have their
Reprint 2024-25
3
The Tiny Teacher
reserved quarters. They spend most of their time searching
for food. Some rooms serve as storehouses for this food.
Soldiers have separate barracks. No worker has ever tried
to live in a soldier’s house; no soldier has ever gone out
searching for food. No worker or soldier or cleaner has ever
harmed a grub. So you see, an ant’s life is very peaceful.
Each does its share of work intelligently and bravely, and
never fights with other members of the group.
1. The story of an ant’s life sounds almost untrue.
The italicised phrase means
(i) highly exaggerated.
(ii) too remarkable to be true.
(iii) not based on facts.
2. Complete the following sentences.
(i) An ant is the smallest,——————————————
———————————————————————
——————————————————————
(ii) We know a number of facts about an ant’s life because
——————————————————————
——————————————————————
3. In what ways is an ant’s life peaceful?
The queen ant has a pair of wings, which she casts off
before she begins to lay eggs.
Eggs hatch and become grubs, grubs change into  cocoons,
and cocoons break to bring forth complete ants.
The life of an ordinary ant in the anthill is a book which
many of us seldom open.
The queen is the mother of the entire population of the
colony. It lives for about fifteen years. It has a pair of wings,
Reprint 2024-25
4
An Alien Hand
but bites them off after its ‘wedding’ flight. This flight takes
place on a hot summer day. The queen leaves the nest and
goes out to meet a male ant, or drone, high up in the air.
On its return to earth, it gets rid of its wings and then does
nothing but lay eggs.
Eggs hatch and grubs come out. Soldiers guard them.
Workers feed and clean them, and also carry them about
daily for airing, exercise and sunshine. Two or three weeks
later, grubs become cocoons and lie without food or activity
for three weeks more. Then the cocoons break and perfect
ants appear. Now it’s time for teaching and training. New
ants learn their duties from old ants as workers, soldiers,
builders, cleaners, etc. After a few weeks’ training, the small
ants are ready to go out into the
big world of work.
An anthill is a home not only
for ants but also for some other
creatures—beetles, lesser breeds
of ants and the greenfly. Why do
ants want these alien creatures
to live in their nests? For several
reasons: some give off smell
pleasant to the ants’ senses;
Reprint 2024-25
5
The Tiny Teacher
others give sweet juices; and some are just pets or
playthings like cats and dogs to human beings. The greenfly
is the ants’ cow. The ants train it to give honeydew (like
milk) with a touch of their antennae. They milk it just as
we milk the cow.
Have humans learned as much as ants have? Perhaps
they have, but they haven’t put their learning to good use.
They may still learn a few things from this tiny teacher—
hard work, sense of duty and discipline, cleanliness, care
for the young ones, and, above all, a firm loyalty to the land
where they live.
1. How long does it take for a grub to become a complete ant?
2. Why do the worker ants carry the grubs about?
3. What jobs are new ants trained for?
4. Name some other creatures that live in anthills.
5. Mention three things we can learn from the ‘tiny teacher’. Give
reasons for choosing these items.
Discuss the following topics in groups.
1. (i) What problems are you likely to face if you keep ants as pets?
(ii) When a group of bees finds nectar, it informs other bees of
its location, quantity, etc. through dancing. Can you guess
what ants communicate to their fellow ants by touching
one another’s feelers?
Reprint 2024-25
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FAQs on NCERT Textbook: The Tiny Teacher - English An Alien Hand Class 7

1. What is the central idea of the article 'The Tiny Teacher'?
Ans. The central idea of the article 'The Tiny Teacher' is to highlight the importance of small creatures like ants in our ecosystem and how they help in maintaining the balance of nature.
2. What is the significance of the title 'The Tiny Teacher'?
Ans. The title 'The Tiny Teacher' signifies the teaching abilities of the tiny creatures like ants. The article emphasizes that we can learn a lot from these small creatures and their behavior.
3. How do ants help in maintaining the balance of nature?
Ans. Ants help in maintaining the balance of nature in several ways. They aerate the soil, help in decomposition by collecting dead insects and leaves, and also help in pollination. They also act as natural pest controllers by eating other insects that can harm the plants.
4. Why does the author say that ants are like humans?
Ans. The author says that ants are like humans because they have a social structure, communicate with each other, and work together to achieve a common goal. They also have a division of labor and perform different tasks based on their abilities.
5. What is the tone of the article 'The Tiny Teacher'?
Ans. The tone of the article 'The Tiny Teacher' is informative and appreciative. The author provides information about the behavior of ants and their contribution to the ecosystem. The article also appreciates the role of these small creatures and highlights how we can learn from them.
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