BATS: FACT AND FICTION
While viewing this program, the students will gain basic understanding of the adaptations bats have to survive as nocturnal animals. The lesson integrates viewing sequences with hands-on activities to demonstrate the unique characteristics of bats in their environment. It also allows students to distinguish between fact and fiction relating to bats and how people react to them. Students will participate in activities that model echolocation and locating young. They will demonstrate their understanding by creating a chart comparing fact and fantasy about bats. Pausing during the viewing allows students to predict, respond to questions, record notes, or participate in hands-on demonstrations that help them understand the concepts introduced in this segment. This investigation can be completed in several days.
The Magic School Bus #204: The Magic School Bus Goes Batty
Students will be able to:
- describe the characteristics and behaviors of nocturnal animals or bats.
- explain how bats use echolocation to navigate.
- explain how bats find their young within a group of bat cubs.
- describe one way that a bat catches its food in flight.
- list four misconceptions about bats and contrast those with the true concepts.
Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), Grade 4
- Sequence, order and/or classify scientific data or information.
- Communicate scientific data and information.
- Interpret scientific data and/or information.
- Make inferences, form generalized statements and/or make predictions using scientific data and/or information.
- Demonstrate an understanding of mathematical relations, functions, and other algebraic concepts.
- Demonstrate an understanding of measurement concepts using metric and customary units.
- Determine solution strategies and analyze or solve problems.
- Evaluate the reasonableness of a solution to a problem situation.
- Bat - i - tude Graph with three columns (I Like Bats, I Don't Like Bats, I Don't Know)
- 3 x 3 in. sticky notes, 1 per student
- Going Batty Chart, 1 per student (included)
- The Nursery Cave Graph (included)
- 5 blindfolds
- 5 different scents
- 1 cotton ball per student
- 5 brown paper bat parents
- 1 pink paper bat pup for each remaining student (glue cotton balls to both color bats)
Per group of 2 students:
- Bats-Fact and Fantasy Chart
Insect Grab Activity
Per group of 3 students:
- copy paper box lid
- paper cup with bottom cut out
How Far? Activity
Per group of 4 students:
- masking tape
- meter stick
- utility ball
What's your Bat - i-tude? Give each student a post-it note. Have them draw a bat on the note and place it on the class graph to show their Bat-i-tude: I Like Bats, I Don't Like Bats, I Don't Know. Discuss the graph. Have some students share the reasons for their attitudes. Bat: Fact or Fiction (establishing prior knowledge) Have the students form two lines of equal length facing each other. The teacher will pose a statement or question about bats. The students will discuss that statement with the student immediately across from them. After discussing their ideas for one minute, the teacher may ask for individuals to share what they discussed. Then the first person from one of the lines will rotate to the end of the same line while the remaining members of the line move up one space. This will provide each person with a new partner. This procedure continues until all statements have been discussed. Bats swoop down and get caught in people's hair. (No, they come after the insects that hover around people.) Bats are the only kind of mammal that can fly. (true) Bats are flying mice. (No, they are actually more related to primates.) Bats are blind. (false) Most bats are dirty and carry rabies. (No, they are very clean, but do occasionally contract rabies.) If you see a bat on the ground during the day, it might be sick. (true) There really are bats that feed on blood. (True, but not in the United States.) Bats produce several babies a year. (No, only one.) A single bat can catch 600 mosquitoes in just one hour. (true and more) Where are bats are found? (caves, tree holes, attics, plant leaves, bridges, mines, rock crevices, barns...) What regions do bats live in? (everywhere except the far polar regions) How do bats help us? (eat insects, distribute seed, pollination) Are bats different sizes? Going Batty Give each student the Going Batty sheet. In the first section, they will record three statements they know about bats. In the second section, they will record three questions that they would like to explore about bats. The last section will be reserved to answer those questions. Allow students to share these with a buddy and discuss each statement and question. The final section will be completed after students have participated in the lesson activities and researched their questions.
To give the students a specific responsibility while viewing this video, say, "We will be joining Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus on a visit to the world of bats. During this video there is some confusion about what is fact and fiction regarding bats. We will be trying to understand the real world of bats and their adaptations or special characteristics that enable them to in live in this night world. As Ms. Frizzle guides us through the trip, I want you to pay special attention to these adaptations as well as the false ideas people have about bats. When the video is over we will make a chart comparing the different ideas, both fact and fantasy. Let's join Ms. Fizzle and her class on a trip to study bats. You have already discussed what you know about bats. Let's see what else we can discover."
BEGIN the video at the Going Batty title screen. PAUSE when Keisha raises her arms and after you hear, "Let there be night?" Ask, "What tone is being set for our story? (scary, creepy) What made you think so? (the music, shadows) How does this relate to bats? (vampires, haunted houses) Say, "These are some of the false ideas or misconceptions about bats. As we go on the trip keep in mind which ideas are fact and which are fantasy. Let's see what happens."
RESUME the video. PAUSE when you see Arnold returning a book to the book shelf and after you hear, "I don't know about you guys, but parent conferences make me nervous." Ask, "What are the students getting ready for? What is their project theme? What does nocturnal mean? How does that fit into the mood set earlier? How could it relate to bats? (bats fly at night) Would it be fact or fantasy? (fact) Say, "This seems to be a realistic display and we know that many bats are nocturnal. Let's see if we can discover more about bats from their display."
RESUME the video. PAUSE when you see Ralphie reading the comic and after you hear, "Attention my beloved children. The moment I have been waiting for is here." Ask, "How does Ralphie feel about bats? What makes you think so? Is this a realistic view about bats? Say, "Many people confuse stories with the facts about bats. This makes them seem very scary. The other students don't seem to agree with Ralphie. Let's see what they think."
RESUME the video. PAUSE when you see Ms. Fizzle next to the hanging bat and after you hear, "So dark of wing and keen of craft of all night fliers the master is the bat." Say, "I am going to replay what Ms. Frizzle just said. Listen carefully so you can explain what she means." REWIND and REPLAY only that quote and PAUSE at the same spot. Ask, "What did she mean? (Explain the quote if the class cannot interpret it.) What do you think Ms. Frizzle's Bat-i-tude would be? Why? Have you ever watched a bat fly? Who can describe how it flew? Why would Ms. Frizzle talk in that voice?" Say, "Ms. Frizzle called this her creature of the night. Let's see what we can discover about nocturnal creatures. Listen carefully."
RESUME the video. PAUSE when you see Ralphie's image of Ms. Frizzle exploding and after you hear, "Yikes!" Ask, "What did Ms. Frizzle list as an important characteristic of the nocturnal animals?" (1. wear color of the night so won't be seen, 2. stay hidden in day so you won't be seen, 3. the darker the night the safer the flight, 4. feed only during the night.) Rewind and replay the section of video for review if necessary. Ask, "What did the Frizz mean by 'the darker the night, the safer the flight'? Safer from what? As we watch the rest of the video, remember these characteristics and see how they relate to the bat."
RESUME the video. PAUSE at the visual cue of parents and students around the bus and after you hear the music. Say, "Remember Ralphie has a very different view of bats. What does he think? As you view the next segment, you are going to see and hear many things that support what Ralphie believes. As you hear one of these ideas, jot down a note so you can remember it. Let's see how many you can discover."
RESUME the video. PAUSE when Keisha shrugs her shoulders and after she says, "That's absolutely ridiculous, but I guess there is no harm in making sure." Ask, " What was said that would make Ralphie think that Ms. Frizzle was a vampire?" (I could just eat you up; pain in the neck; taking him under my wing; how about night; the darker the night the safer flight; night is when they strike; parent here after dark; grandmother sleeping in a box) List the examples on the board or overhead as the students give them to you. Ask, "Are any of these true about bats? " Underline the true statements. Say, "We know that Ralphie is convinced that bats and Ms. Frizzle are vampires, but the other students still are unsure. Let's see if they get some facts to clear this up."
RESUME. PAUSE at visual cue with students in the bushes and after you hear, "Why would Ms. Frizzle bring our parents to a place full of bats and mosquitoes?" Ask, "Why do you think she brought the parents there?" Say, " Good ideas. Let's see." Resume video. Pause at the visual cue after parents drink. Ask, "Do we know what Ms. Frizzle is doing yet? What could they be drinking?" Say, " It seems that Ralphie is getting more proof to support his ideas. If we were there, what could be done to determine what is going on? Let's see what the kids do and what the parents learn."
RESUME. PAUSE when Ms. Frizzle puts her arm around Keisha's mother and after you hear, "Only some juicy tidbits for the bats." Ask, " Have the parents discovered some facts about the bats? What did you learn? What is guano? How is it used? How can the bats hang on to the walls? What were the small pink bats? Why were they pink? Why do you think they were left alone? How did the mother feed the baby?" Say, "Let's watch the part where the mother comes to the baby. I want you to watch the way she lands. Many people think that bats fly like birds, but actually they fly very differently. Watch carefully so you can describe it." REWIND and REPLAY the segment with the mother coming to her young. PAUSE at the same location. Say, "Describe how she landed. What happened after she found her baby? How did she find which one was hers? In a true nursery cave there are thousands of pups hanging from the ceiling in a tightly packed group . This is the way they keep warm. Imagine that you are a mother trying to find your pup. How would you do it? (sound, smell, location) What could you use to help? What did Ms. Frizzle say? (could recognize the sound)" The Nursery Cave Activity (adapted from Bats Are Incredible, AIMS) Say, "We are going to role play trying to find a cub within a group of cubs. I have prepared five pairs of matching scent tags. We will have five adults holding brown paper bat tags with scented cotton balls trying to find their pup with the matching scented cotton ball. Each of the rest of you will have a pink paper bat with a cotton ball on it. These represent the cubs. Only five of these are scented. The parents are coming into a dark cave to find you, so they will be blindfolded. You may not make a sound, but only allow them to smell the cotton ball on your bat. I will time how long it takes each parent to find her pup. Then we will graph the information." In an open area, blindfold the parent bats. Line all pups on the opposite side of the room. Have parents locate pups one at a time and record the time on a graph. Review the graphed information. Ask, "What can we infer from the graph? What other sense could we use to find our pup?" (sound as mentioned in the video) Say, "We will replay the role play, but this time I will select five new parents and their pups. The pairs can get together and decide on a sound that the pup will make so the mother can find it." Repeat role play and graph this information. Repeat a third time where the parent may place the pup in a specific location, then use sound, location, and smell to locate the pup. Each time the parents are blindfolded. Compare the graphed information from each role play. Say, "Finding a pup is not very easy, but the bat has incredible adapted senses to do the job. You can imagine that the nursery cave is a noisy place around feeding time. Only the pups and their mother are in the cave. Fathers are located somewhere else. Let's see what other facts we can discover about bats."
RESUME the video. PAUSE where students are looking out the bus window and after you hear,"What if we crash into something?" Ask, 'What is happening now? What did you observe about the tree? What does this mean? What else did you observe?" (the sound) Say, "All of these will help us discover a very important adaptation of the bat. Did you notice that it was dark when they started to fly? Let's keep watching to see what is happening.
RESUME the video. PAUSE where the girl is in the bus and after you hear, "Weird, but cool. Bats use sound to get around." Ask, "What was the word used to describe how bats navigate at night? What does it mean? Can you describe how that happens?" Say, "Echolocation is an adaptation used by bats to locate food and navigate in the dark. After the video, we will test your location skills using sound, but for now I want you to watch carefully to see how the bat catches its food after it has located it."
RESUME. PAUSE when you see Keisha and Ralphie in the bus and after you hear, "Well we don't have time for a midnight snack. We have to get back to the castle." Ask, "How did the bat catch its food? Can you demonstrate what it did?" Say, "Bats' wings have the same bone structure as your hand. Therefore, they are very flexible. You can use your hand to scoop and bat at flying insects. The bat can, too, but it also uses its tail and feet. The skin stretched over the bones acts like a net. Many bats also catch the insects with their mouths. All of this in interesting, but I don't think that Ralphie's bat-i-tude has changed much. Let's see if going back to the castle helps. Look for more facts about bats when we get there."
RESUME the video. PAUSE with Arnold hanging in the tree and after you hear, "That light gives me the creeps. I wonder why." Ask, "Have the kids' bat-i-tudes changed? Why? What were some of the facts the kids discovered while being bats? Any ideas why the light bothers them? Let's find out."
RESUME the video. PAUSE at the visual cue hanging in the tree again and after you hear, "The darker the night, the safer the flight." Ask, "What does 'the darker the night, the safer the flight' mean? Besides man, you just saw one of the major predators of bats. What was it? How would an owl be adapted to feed on bats?" Say, "The students are going to head back to the castle. Watch what adaptations they use when they get there."
RESUME the video. PAUSEwhen Arnold hits the statue and falls to the floor. Ask, "What happened? Can you tell why? Let's check it out."
RESUME. PAUSE when Ms. Frizzle is with all the parents and after you hear, "I always say to be a bat is to love a bat." Ask, "What did Ms. Frizzle mean when she said 'to be a bat is to love a bat'? What were some of the things that the parents learned? Did the students have the same experiences? How? Who do you think has the best bat-i-tude now? Why?" Say, "Let's see if the students' bat-i-tude changes. See if you can list what they learn.
RESUME the video. PAUSE the video where it fades into the circle. Ask, "Did their bat-i-tude change? What facts did they learn?" (Nocturnal animals that use echolocation to fly at night to feed on insects, not blood.) Say, "The bats we just learned about are very similar to the bats we have in Austin, but there are many other kinds of bats in the world. We are going to watch the end of the program. It introduces some ideas that were not in the story. Listen carefully because it might answer some of the questions you wrote at the beginning of the lesson."
RESUME the video. STOP at end of this segment. Say, "You have heard many things about bats in this program. Some were fact and some were fantasy. I want you to work with a friend to list four facts and four fantasies. Then I want you to explain why you think that someone would believe the fantasy. We will share these when you have finished." Allow time for students on work on the charts and share the information.
Insect Grab Say, "Let's try your skill at locating an object using sound. You will work in teams of three. Two people will hold the box lid and gently roll the marble from end to end. The third person will close their eyes and try to catch the marble by listening to the pattern of the sound. You may only pick up the marble with your finger tips (not scoop it with you hand). Rotate positions so that each person gets to try and catch the marble. You may want to observe the marble before trying to catch it." "Bats that eat insects and use echolocation usually have enlarged ears and nose leaves to better focus the sound. You may use the cup with the bottom cut out to enlarge you ear surface. Try a second round holding the cup to your ear while keeping your eyes closed." Discuss and compare results. How Far? Say, "Bats use their echolocation to tell distance and size as well as location. You will be listening to tell how far you are away from a wall. You will work in groups of four. Find a wall with a clear path to it. Measure and mark with masking tape 2 meters, 4 meters, and 6 meters from the wall. [Note: This is best done in the gym.] Have one person practice rolling the ball at an even speed. Have another person practice counting at an even speed. Count how long it takes for the ball to the hit the wall from each distance. Take five trials at each distance and average the five. Blindfold a student and place them at one of the distances. Roll the ball and count for that person. Have them predict where they are. Repeat with each person in the group. Could you tell where you were? How?" How's You Bat-i-tude? Revisit the graph and question chart. Discuss any changes in their attitudes. Did having more knowledge help change attitude?
Have groups of students research different types of bats, their unique adaptations, and their contributions to the environment. Have each group make a realistic bat costume from bulletin board paper and other collectables representing their bat. Have a "meet the bat day", where parents and other classes are invited to learn about these bats. Have students plan group fund raisers that they could implement themselves to raise money to adopt a class bat. Bats can be adopted through Bat Conservation International.
Language Arts: Many fables are available that attempt to explain the unusual adaptions of the bat. Read some of the these or other animal fables to the students. Have them write their own fables such as how the bat learned to echolocate, why the bat flies at night, why the bat hangs upside down.
Language Arts: Read Stellaluna. Have students create their own picture book adventures about a bat with a mix of fact and fantasy.
Language Arts: Have students write a factual report about the bat they researched and a fantasy story about it.
Social Studies: As students study their individual bats, have them locate their primary habitat on a world map. Where do vampire bats live? Are there bats in the Arctic?
Social Studies: Many bats are endangered. Have the students write to Bat Conservation International to find out about bats in their area. Have them create and display "Wanted: Bats" posters that tell the benefits of bats in their area.
Science: Survey other classes with the bat-i-tude activities prior to inviting them to the "meet a bat" day. Survey them after the presentations to see if there is a change in their bat-i-tude. Compare graphs. This information could be entered into a data base and different types of graphs created from the information.
Science: Read Stellaluna. Create a Venn diagram comparing bats and birds.
Math: In small groups, research the sizes of bats and their weights. Create paper models to scale using bulletin board paper. Display these for others to see.
Click here to view the worksheet associated with this lesson.
Master Teacher: Pam Stryker