Bats and Echolocation
Lesson 2 of 6
Objective: Students learn about bats and echolocation by listening to a non-fiction book about bats and participating in a simulation of echolocation.
I ask students to sit on the meeting place rug to listen to a book about a nocturnal animal: the bat.
Hanging on the wall behind me is a bat anchor chart. The chart has a bat already drawn on it and there are a few questions written on it. I go over the questions before reading the book and tell the students that while I read, I want them to be thinking about these questions to see if they here information that can help answer them.
The questions are:
- How do bats find their way in the dark?
- Are bats a type of bird?
- Why do bats hang upside down?
I read the book aloud to the class. This book has a lot of facts about many kinds of bats so I stop and clarify any difficult words or language and put it into kindergarten friendly language. After reading the book, I go back to the chart and re-read the questions. I ask for volunteers to give me any information they’ve learned to help answer the questions and I record the answers on the chart.
I also use the large drawing of the bat during the reading to show the different parts of the bat. Using the chart makes it easier for the students to see the parts of the bat, particularly the fingers and wings.
Guided Practice - Simulation
After reading the book and filling in the chart, I ask students to quietly get up from the floor and make their way to their seats.
At each table, there are some materials set up to simulate what echolocation is like for bats.
“We read about echolocation in the book and answered the question on the chart about how bats find their way in the dark. Now we are going to try it for ourselves.”
At the back table, there are two empty paper towel rolls that are taped down to the table. In front of them there is a metal cake pan tipped on its side. *see picture and video
I instruct students that one student is to whisper into one tube while another student has his/her ear up to the other tube. The idea is that the sound from the whisper will travel through the tube, hit the cake pan and bounce back through the other tube so that the student can hear it.
Students come to the back table in pairs and take turns trying the experiment. The looks on their faces say it all. They are amazed that this actually works.
After all students get to give it try, I tell them again that this is how bats "see" in the night. The sound bounces off of objects so that they know to turn or that it is something to eat.
I explain to the students that this is how bats use sound to find their way around in the dark.
After every student has had a chance to do both parts of the simulation, I ask the students to meet me back on the meeting place rug.
At this time, I will answer any lingering questions students may have about bats and then we will work as a class to make a bat fact chart. I use turn taking sticks to call on students to give me information to put on the chart until every student has been called.
This chart can then hang on the wall during our nocturnal animal unit.