Ideas from our Naturalists
Try this fun activity from Nyta Hensley, TPWD Natural Resource Specialist at Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area. And, learn more fun facts about bats from the web page Bats of Old Tunnel and their education programs. Nyta is co-author of the delightful book you can download for free: Frankie the Free-tailed Bat. (Spanish version.)
"I am at Old Tunnel. I have quite a few activities that I put together as a packet that I give teachers when I go out to do school programs. We also have varied activities for kids at Old Tunnel - bat crafts, origami bats, a bat cave, a toss a moth game & bat face painting. I also modified some Project WILD activities to relate them to bats. Other activities I incorporated from information I've gathered through Bat Conservation International and other bat related organizations. I've listed one of the activities below and also provided a list of web sites about bats that I think teachers would find helpful. Teachers may also borrow our bat trunk which is full of educational materials. Please contact us at email@example.com or you may call 830-990-2659 for more information."
Grade Level: 2 - 8
Subject Areas: Science, Environmental Education
Duration: 15 minutes
Setting: Inside or Outside
Key Terms: Echolocation
Objective: Students will learn about echolocation by using sound to locate.
Method: Students will simulate a bat trying to catch moths in a game similar to Marco Polo.
Bats can see as well as other animals, but vision isn't enough. Many bats have a special ability called echolocation that helps them navigate in total darkness. Echolocation is a way of “seeing” with sound. Bats use sound as a kind of flashlight in the dark. They send out high-frequency sound waves, which bounce off all objects in their path and echo back to them. Based on the time it takes for the echoes to return, bats can tell how far away an object is. And, based on the returning sounds, bats can tell the size and shape of an object. Some bats can detect objects as fine as a single human hair. Although this activity doesn't use echoes for location, which is very difficult for the human ear, students will practice using sound.
- Choose one student to be a bat. Have all other students form a circle joining hands. These students will be the trees in the forest.
- Blindfold the bat then choose another student to be a moth.
- The bat will call out “bat” and the moth will then answer “moth.” The bat will try to zero in on the moth simulating echolocation by repeating “bat.” The moth has to answer in turn. If the bat runs into a tree, the student will say “tree.” Once the bat tags the moth. The moth becomes a bat and the bat becomes a tree.
- Blindfold the bat and then choose another moth. You can vary the game by adding more than one moth.