wNetSchool HomeThe Practical Web Service for K-12 TeacherswNetStation
WNET Educational Initiatives
Instructional Television
Lesson Plan Database

Grades K-2

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.
Students will be able to:
(per class)

(per group of four)
(per student)
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."

Going Batty #117

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.

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 defines. (nocturnal)

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 echolocation ability.

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."

Bats #103

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.
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.

Language Arts

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 might do.


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.

Computer Science

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