Activities and Lesson Plans

Hanging Around with Bats

TPW Magazine, October 2008

You may print Hanging Around with Bats children's pages from the TPW Magazine. Comments and suggestions welcome at: Be sure to check out the TPW Magazine special offer for Teachers!

Suggested Topics: echolocation, myths, scientific processes, migration, adaptations, systems, human impacts

Related 4th Grade TEKS: Science 4.5 Parts removed from complex systems, 4.8 Adaptations increase survival; Social Studies 4.9 Humans adapt to and modify their environment, 4.22 Use critical thinking to organize and use information from a variety of sources, 4.23 Communicates in written, oral and visual forms; Language Arts 4.5 Speaks clearly and appropriately to different audiences for different purposes and occasions, 4.13 Inquires and conducts research using a variety of sources; Math 4.13 Solve problems by collecting, organizing, displaying and interpreting data, 4.16 Uses logical reasoning. 4.4 Multiplies and divides to solve meaningful problems, 4.5 Estimates to determine reasonable results.

Discussion Questions

  • What do bats eat? (most eat bugs; some eat nectar and pollinate flowers) Are bats helpful to people? Why or why not?
  • Bats are active at night. What is that called? (nocturnal)
  • Look again at the picture of the bat. Bats are part of the order Chiroptera, meaning hand wing. Why?
  • Name at least three places bats live.
  • Can you name other animals that use echolocation? (whales, dolphins; people use sonar)
  • Did any of the myths about bats surprise you? Why do you think some myths last over time? Could some myths cause harm? How can we help correct myths?
  • What do you think might happen if we had fewer bats?
  • Why do you think the Texas State Legislator named the Mexican free-tailed bat as one of the state's symbols?
  • Did this article change your mind about bats?

Bat Activities

Frankie the Free-tailed Bat
Download this  book  (spanish edition) and discover the world of bats through Frankie's eyes! 

Name the parts of a bat.
Student handout. Answer sheet.

Echolocation (BCI)

Bat Video

Bat-Watching Field Trip
Visit a bat habitat in a place near your school about 30 minutes before sunset. (Viewing locations in Texas) Draw a picture of the bats emerging from their homes or write a journal page about what you saw and how you felt. Make sure you don’t interfere with or harass the bats.

Bat House Project
Have students build a (mock) bat house out of school craft supplies. They should measure the dimensions and apply any formulas that they have learned such as area, volume, surface area etc, and think of ways to include the most important features that bats need in their homes to survive.

Build a Bat House
Bat Conservation International offers three downloadable designs

Read about someone who created a bat cave!
Bamberger's Chiroptorium

Watch the CBS news video about the teenager who uses echolocation.
How does echolocation help him? Experiment and see if you can first locate things by sound, then try to hear echoes. Hearing echoes will be difficult!

Ideas from our Naturalists
Nyta Hensley from Old Tunnel shares one of her games and favorite web sites.

Advanced: check the Research and Further Reading page for many fascinating topics for additional study

Project WILD