This lesson allows students to take a close look at bats and
other animals with which they share their world. Technology, with an emphasis
on video, is used as the primary tool to create understanding that all animals
share specific traits despite their diversity. Video and center designed
hands-on activities are integrated to serve as catalysts for learning made
real and meaningful. Technology enhances ability to gain knowledge necessary
to identify characteristics used to classify animals, explain why bats are
unique and to compare and contrast bats and birds.
- THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS: Going Batty #117
- WORLD OF THE WILD: Bats #103
Students will be able to:
- identify characteristics used to classify mammals;
- explain the bat as a unique mammal;
- describe a bat's features and traits;
- compare/contrast bats and birds.
- 1 chalkboard and chalk
- 1 chalkboard eraser
- 1 bat puppet
- 1 poster of various mammals
- 1 world wall map
- 1 WHAT IS A MAMMAL? poster
- 1 mammals card
- 1 echolocation card
- 1 nocturnal card
(per group of four)
- 1 Listening Center with:
- 4 copies Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
- 1 tape recorder with headset capacity
- 4 sets earphones
- 1 poster divided: bats/birds
- 1 black marker
- 1 Art Center with:
- 4 white t-shirts
- 1 container black fabric paint
- 1 bat shaped sponge
- 1 set paint pens including: black, pink, purple, red, green and
- 4 empty toilet tissue rolls
- 4 sheets each, construction paper: black, green and white
- 4 bottles glue
- 4 scissors
- 1 Math Center with:
- 1 group reference materials on fruit bats
- 2 measuring tapes
- 4 twelve inch rulers
- 4 pieces construction paper
- 4 pencils
- 1 graph chart
- 1 bat puppet
- 1 Science Center with:
- 1 collection old magazines (with animal pictures)
- 4 bottles glue
- 1 poster board divided: mammals/not
- 4 scissors
- 1 Computer Center with:
- 2 computers (Macintosh used in plan)
- 1 software: Kid Pix Companion
- 1 sheet tablet paper
- 1 pencil
- 1 sheet tablet paper
- 1 pencil
- 1 twelve inch ruler
Hold the bat puppet in view of all students. Ask, "How
would you identify the puppet I'm holding?" Allow time for students
to identify the puppet as a bat. Write bat on chalkboard. Ask, "What
do you know about bats?" Reserve time for students to share their knowledge
of bats. Say, "The bat is often associated with a special day celebrated
in the fall. What is the name given to this special day?" Elicit discussion
leading to conclusion that the special day is Halloween. Ask, "Why
do you suppose that bat is so closely associated with Halloween?" Allow
students to share their opinions; accept all opinions unchallenged. Say,
"It is most unusual to see a bat as it flies around in search of food.
Why do you suppose this is true?" Allow students to confirm that a
bat generally searches for food under the cover of darkness; lead discussion
to this conclusion if necessary.
Inform students they are going to see a video about bats. Say,
"The first video is hosted by Ms. Frizzle, whom you will hear referring
to a bat as the master creature of the night." Write the master creature
of the night on chalkboard. To give students a specific responsibility while
viewing say, "Watch the video and be prepared to tell why Ms. Frizzle
refers to bats in this manner."
THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS
Begin tape immediately following opening credits with audio of Ms. Frizzle,
"Seat belts everyone!" PAUSE tape on visual of bats hanging
in a tree. Allow students to share their beliefs about why Ms. Frizzle referred
to bats as the master creatures of the night. List important facts on chalk-board.
Going Batty #117
Use the bat puppet to ask, "Did you notice anything unusual about the
way I rest or sleep?" Encourage students to recall as they describe
bats hanging from the tree. Employ the puppet to hold and display the nocturnal
card for students to see. Say, "I am referred to as a nocturnal animal.
The next video tells you about nocturnal animals. What do you suppose it
means?" List on chalkboard as students tell what they believe the term
means. Do not confirm or challenge at this time. To give students a specific
responsibility while viewing say, "As you see the next video, watch
to find out if the correct definition of nocturnal is listed on the chalkboard."
RESUME tape. PAUSE tape following audio, "I hope they
like our display of nocturnal animals." Display the nocturnal card
and have students recite its pronunciation in unison. Ask, "Is the
correct meaning included in the chalkboard list?" Allow for student
response; confirm the correct meaning if listed and erase all incorrect
definitions. If the correct meaning isn't listed, erase all definitions
and have students tell an accurate definition; write it on chalkboard. Allow
several volunteers to read the new/correct meaning and tell the term it
Say, "The next video explains why the bat is a nocturnal animal."
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch
the next video and be prepared to tell in your own words why the bat is
a nocturnal animal." RESUME tape. PAUSE tape after audio,
"Being nocturnal, you feed only during the night." Allow students
to explain why the bat is a nocturnal animal as you list on chalk-board.
Draw less verbal students into the activity as you conduct a review of reasons
the bat is classified as nocturnal.
Write night fliers, mosquitoes, vampires, and mammals on chalkboard. Have
a student tell each term as it is pointed out; assist as needed. Say, "These
are terms you will hear included in the next video. Each applies to the
bat in some way." To give students a specific responsibility while
viewing say, "Watch the video and be ready to explain how each term
applies to bats." RESUME tape with audio, "Yikes! Is something
wrong?" PAUSE tape with audio, "Bats are mammals, not vampires.
Their babies drink milk, not blood." Display the mammal card. Ask,
"What is this term?" Allow for response. Ask, "How does the
term apply to bats?" (Bats are classified as mammals because, in part,
the female produces milk on which the babies feed.) Display the poster of
various mammals. Engage students in discussion of why each animal is classified
as a mammal.
Use the world wall map and show locations of Central and South America.
Explain there is a group of several Central and South American bats that
feed on the blood of birds and other mammals, especially domestic animals
(explain). Say, "They have been known to transmit rabies through their
bites." Write vampire bat on chalkboard and allow students to discuss.
Be careful to dispel myths and assure the vampire bat is not known to inhabit
regions of the United States. NOTE: If interest in vampire bats is sustained,
appoint a cooperative team of two or three students to work with the Media
Specialist/ Librarian and develop a special report on the subject to be
presented at a later time.
Write echo on the chalkboard. Allow students to share their knowledge of
echoes. Discuss echoes as repeated sounds that are sent back when the sound
waves are reflected off an object they come in contact with. To give students
a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the next video
and be prepared to describe a special characteristic of bats and how they
use echoes." RESUME tape. Audio is, "Get down the frizz
is coming." PAUSE tape following audio, "Bats can see with
their ears." Display the echolocation card as you allow students to
discuss how bats often use echoes to locate prey and to avoid flying into
objects. Point to the echolocation card and ask, "Do you recognize
a contrast between a pilot's use of radar and a bat's system of echo-location?"
Encourage students to share knowledge of radar and contrast it with a bat's
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch
the next video and decide how important you think sound is to a bat."
Resume tape; audio is, "Maw, straight ahead!" Stop tape on visual
of a telephone; audio is telephone ringing and "...and bats all!"
Allow students to discuss how important they believe sound is to a bat.
Distribute one sheet of tablet paper, a pencil and a 12 inch ruler to each
student. Invite a volunteer to come to the chalk-board and draw a bat as
one might see it resting on the limb of a tree. Allow students to discuss
the illustration; emphasize that bats usually attach themselves in an upside
down position when resting. Say, "Use your ruler and draw a tree limb
exactly seven inches long on the tablet paper." After time has been
allocated for completion of the task say, "A bat must have three-fourths
inch of space on your limb to rest. Measure and determine how many bats
can rest as they hang from your limb. Next, draw the correct number of bats
illustrating your solution to the problem." Allow time for students
to complete the task; assist as needed. (The limb will hold nine (9) bats;
there will be one-fourth inch of unused limb remaining.) Allow students
to show their illustrations and explain their computations. Display illustrations
in the classroom.
Ask, "How would you compare your knowledge of bats yesterday to what
you know about them now?" Allow students to make comparisons. Say,
"Would you like to test your knowledge by a visit to a zoo in San Antonio,
Texas?" Allow students to respond as you show the location of San Antonio
on the wall map. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing
say, "Listen carefully as students ask questions. Before each is answered,
you will be given an opportunity to predict the correct answer. Then we'll
continue the video to test your predictions for correctness."
WORLD OF THE WILD
Begin tape with audio, "Now it's time to turn it over to Kelly Hantz,
host for World of the Wild." PAUSE tape after the first question,
"Will bats fly in my hair?" Allow students to predict the answer
to the question. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing
say, "Watch and test your prediction for accuracy." RESUME
tape; PAUSE tape for students to evaluate their prediction after
the answer is given by Mr. McCusker, Executive Director of the zoo.
RESUME tape; audio is student, "I want to know how bats sleep
upside down." PAUSE tape immediately after the question is asked.
Allow students to predict the answer. RESUME tape; audio is the answer
given by Mr. McCusker. PAUSE tape after answer is given and allow
students to test the accuracy of their prediction. NOTE: You may wish to
tally correct and incorrect predictions on the chalkboard. Be sure to allow
time for any needed/desired discussion after each video pause.
RESUME tape; audio is student, "Are bats related to rats and
mice?" PAUSE tape and permit students to answer the question.
This may be a desirable time to reinforce the term mammal. RESUME
tape for the answer to the student's question. PAUSE tape as students
evaluate the answer they previously gave; tally on chalkboard.
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "The
next question is very interesting. Watch and decide how you would answer
it." RESUME tape as a student asks, "Do bats only fly at
night?" PAUSE tape so your students can share what they believe.
After their pre-dictions/beliefs have been made clear, RESUME tape.
As the question is answered, PAUSE tape for students to check their
predictions/beliefs for correctness. Discuss as needed. Record the tally.
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "As you
hear the next question, decide how you will answer it and be prepared to
tell why." RESUME tape. PAUSE tape after the question,
"Are bats dirty?" Repeat the question then allow time for students
to respond and qualify the answer chosen. RESUME tape to hear the
answer given by Mr. McCusker. PAUSE tape and allow students to evaluate
their answers after Mr. McCusker has responded to the question. Ask students
who answered the question correctly to raise their hands. Have a volunteer
count, then go to the chalk-board and record the tally.
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Listen
to the next question and be ready to repeat it word for word." RESUME
tape. PAUSE tape after the question "How many bats are vampires?"
Ask students to recall the question as you record it on chalkboard. Encourage
students to identify the key words in this question. (how many) Circle key
words then ask, "If you ask how many, what kind of answer would you
expect?" Elicit discussion leading to conclusion that a how many question
asks for a specific number. Ask, "Could Mr. McCusker possibly know
the exact number of vampire bats in the world?" Allow time for students
to internalize, then say, "Wording a question is very important. In
order to get the infor-mation you want, you must ask the right question.
How would you have worded the question?" Allow students to consider
your question and then respond. Select the reworded question considered
best by the class and write it on the chalkboard. Discuss how the new wording
might be more desirable for getting the information you want. (e.g.) What
percent of all bats are vampires? Encourage students to analyze the two
questions, then decide if the answers (information) asked for are the same
or different. Have volunteers answer both questions. Contrast questions
in terms of potential for getting the information you want. Say, "Watch
the next video and be prepared to tell how you believe Mr. McCusker interpreted
the question." RESUME tape. PAUSE tape after the question
is answered. Allow students to tell how they believe Mr. McCusker interpreted
the question. Briefly reinforce importance for asking "the right question
to get information you need."
Say, "If you have a dog or cat as a pet, law requires that the animal
be given a shot once each year to prevent a certain disease. What disease
is this?" Confirm the disease as rabies. Briefly discuss rabies and
the potential danger to humans. Ask, "Do you believe bats can have
rabies?" Allow students to share their beliefs. To give students a
specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch and test your belief
with what Mr. McCusker has to say about bats and rabies." RESUME
tape. PAUSE tape after the question is answered; allow students
to confirm or correct their belief about bats/rabies as applicable to humans.
Review nocturnal. Say, "The next question on the video is, are all
bats blind? If you were asked the question, how would you answer it?"
Provide time for students to respond. To give students a specific responsibility
while viewing say, "Listen as the question is asked on the video and
compare your answer to the one given by Mr. McCusker." RESUME
tape. PAUSE tape after Mr. McCusker answers the question. Allow time
for students to compare their answers; review echo-location. Say, "Watch
the next video and be ready to tell what you believe is the correct answer
to the question." RESUME tape. PAUSE tape after the question,
"Do bats make good mothers?" Encourage students to recall what
they already know about mammals as they answer the question. RESUME
tape. STOP tape after the answer is given; audio is, "One reason
we know that, is because there's an awful lot of bats around." Allow
time for students to test the accuracy of answers they provided.
Conduct a brief interactive session as each student is called upon to share
any new knowledge she/he has acquired about bats during the lesson.
Create five hands-on centers; pre-determine and reserve blocks
of time that permit all students to have an experience in each center. The
activities are designed to be extended over several days. Divide class into
groups of four students each. Develop a group-rotation plan for centers
and record it on chalkboard. Explain that all groups are assigned a block
of time at each center, however, not on the same day.
NOTE: Enrollment dictates number of centers and/or number of students assigned
to groups. Adjust suggested plan as appropriate.
Implement movement of groups to their first assigned center on day lesson
is presented. Rotation to other centers should follow plan recorded on chalk-board.
Supplies needed for each center are listed under MATERIALS at beginning
of the lesson plan. A brief description of activities for each center follows:
Just for fun, students will be invited on a "pretend" bat hunt
around school grounds as a culminating activity to their study of bats.
Ask two parents to assist in creating a hunting license for each participant,
to hide clues on the campus and one to dress like a bat for a surprise ending
to the hunt. Students are informed that the goal of the hunt is to find
the biggest bat ever spotted on the school grounds. The hunt begins with
students looking around the campus for places a bat might be found. As they
search out locations, they will discover clues that ultimately lead to the
hiding place of the parent dressed as a bat. Following the hunt, everyone
returns to the classroom where they are served bat cookies and juice.
- Listening Center: Use earphones and listen to story, Stellaluna. Students
will then create a poster that compares bats and birds. Request assistance
from a parent for this activity.
- Art Center: Students create a bat t-shirt for themselves. In addition,
each will design and create a bat using empty toilet tissue rolls and construction
- Math Center: Students consult provided reference materials on fruit
bats then compare measurements of their hands and feet to measurements given
for the bats. Students trace hands and measure spans, then create a graph
showing differences between spans. Display graphs in classroom.
- Science Center: Students use magazines to locate pictures of mammals
and non-mammals. After reviewing characteristics of mammals, pictures are
cut out and used to create a mammals/not mammals chart. Display upon completion
by each group.
- Computer Center: Students use the program, Kid Pix and create a picture
of the bat. They will work cooperatively and record facts about bats to
be used in support of a slide show to be designed and shared with classmates.
Invite a spelunkerer to visit your classroom and discuss experiences
they have had with bats roosting in caves they've explored. Have students
pre-determine questions they want to ask the guest; reinforce the need to
be sure to ask the right question for getting information they desire. Later,
have students write thank you notes to the guest.
If there is a park or natural reserve with a nature program in your area,
plan a field trip and visit. Ask staff to include all available information
on bats in their presentation.
Have the class list other information they would like to know about bats.
As a class project, compose a letter requesting the information and mail
it to: Bat Conser-vation International, P.O. Box 162603, Austin, TX 78716.
Use computers and write stories and/or poems about bats and other mammals.
Employ creativity and compose one based on the theme "Why I Would or
Would Not Like to be a Bat."
Review the five senses. Have students ex-perience trying to "see with
sound." Pro-vide blindfolds and have students deter-mine if they can
recognize classmates and objects by using their ears --- much like a bat
Have an interested group of students create a mural showing various kinds
and sizes of bats. Display the mural on the wall outside your classroom.
Use Grolier's Encyclopedia CD-ROM to research information on bats. Use the
information and pictures to design and present a slide show for parents
and/or a neighboring class.
Master Teachers: Susie Bateman and Connie Crowell
Lesson Plan Database
Thirteen Ed Online