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Bats are Brilliant

Elementary

Description

The fascinating world of bats is explored in this engaging set of activities that teaches students about the remarkable features of these flying mammals that are uniquely adapted to their environment. The interactive hands-on activities investigate how bats travel, habitat requirements and life cycles while dispelling many common myths that lead to fear of these amazing animals. As students learn about population threats and why we should all be involved in bat conservation they will:

  • Examine and describe bat structural features.

  • Quantify wing beat speeds.

  • Identify habitat requirements.

  • Simulate echolocation.

  • Compare and contrast bat and human sleep cycles.

  • Describe population threats such as White Nose syndrome.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Analysis
  • Problem solving
  • Observing and recording
  • Scientific inquiry

Strengths

  • Provides a variety of activities with an emphasis on active learning
  • Well supported with worksheets, background content and links to other sources of information
  • Fosters a conservation ethic
  • Engaging and interesting

Weaknesses

  • Requires a bat skeleton which may be difficult to locate
  • Does not include any assessment strategies
  • Includes some ideas for extending the learning with activities like creating awareness posters but does not include a defined action project

 

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource supports curriculum outcomes examining habitats, interdependence, ecosystem connections and habitat conservation. The echolocation activity also provides an opportunity for students to investigate properties of sound. As the class analyzes human impacts on bat populations they will be motivated to learn more about conservation and protective measures for species at risk.

 

A unique action project resulting from this lesson could have a class building and installing bat boxes in a local conservation area.   A good design can be found on the National Wildlife Federation website

 

A class could work with a local naturalist group to place the houses in appropriate habitat and create kits for local homeowners with instructions and a fact sheet about bats species in the area.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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    • Grade 2
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      • Science
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        • Investigating change and the diversity of Earth’s systems helps us to develop understandings of the conditions necessary to sustain life.
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        • Investigating change and the diversity of Earth’s systems helps us to develop understandings of the conditions necessary to sustain life.
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        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world.
        • Investigating change and the diversity of Earth’s systems helps us to develop understandings of the conditions necessary to sustain life.
  • British Columbia
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        • Science 3: Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems
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        • Growth and Changes in Animals
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        • Habitat and Communities
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        • You and Your World: Change and the Physical Environment
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        • Science 2: Animal Growth
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        • Animal Growth and Changes:Investigating the Needs and Life Cycles of an Organism
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  • Yukon Territory
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        • Science 2: Living things have life cycles adapted to their environment
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        • Science 3: Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems
    • Grade 4
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        • Science 4: All living things sense and respond to their environment

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (3)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Endangered Species
    • Interdependence

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

This resource leads students to an understanding of the connections between bat adaptations and habitat. The information is provided in the context of the environmental challenges that are impacting bat populations. The links between species needs and ecosystem health develop an awareness of the urgency for conservation of declining bat populations.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good

Bats are often misrepresented in media and consequently many people feel they are simply flying rodents with no real purpose.  One of the key strengths of this lesson is that it dispels many of the myths surrounding bats by highlighting their unique features. Students also become aware of the valuable role of bats in food production as pollinators and insectivores that help control pests.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

Students are able to explore scientific cause and effect relationships and use this information to describe interactions within ecosystems and develop new ideas about conservation.

 

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

There is a recognition in the resource that many bat populations require human intervention to survive but no specific action projects are defined.  However, the material does include links to several sites that do provide ideas for citizen engagement in bat conservation.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

Students are able to challenge misconceptions and develop their own opinions.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

The hands-on investigation of bat features such as echolocation has an appeal that will promote curiosity and concern.  Students will be more motivated to become citizen scientists that observe and document bats in their community.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

Using the Little Brown Bat as the key species for discussion is important since this species is probably most familiar to students and has experienced dramatic population declines in areas like Eastern Canada due to white nose fungus.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

An effective questioning process uses scaffolding to guide students through reflections on their learning to develop questions and answers for the wrap up "How do Bat's Compare" activity.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

Although this resource was developed to support science outcomes, there is a kinesthetic element to several activities that involves students in physical activity.  

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

The activities encourage interaction and engagement with nature in a manner that provides many opportunities for students to move beyond the parameters of the lesson to make new discoveries.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Poor/Not considered

There are no specific differentiation strategies but the hands-on nature of the activities will appeal to a variety of learners.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

This resource is classroom based but several of the activities involve actively mimicking bat adaptations like echolocation and wing speed. Simulating actual physical processes provides a more authentic and meaningful learning experience.

 

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Poor/Not considered
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

There are no defined assessment tasks in the lesson. but guided questioning does support formative assessment.  The final "How do Bats Compare" summary worksheet could be used to formally evaluate new learning.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

This topic is extremely timely and relevant especially as concern increases about the decimation of bat colonies by white nose fungus. The activities in this resource encourage students to become bat advocates who promote stewardship within their local community.

 

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Poor/Not considered
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.