Bat Echolocation (Phenomenon)

Contributor
Aaron Corcoran
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Phenomenon
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This short (1:05 min) slow motion video shows a bat using echolocation to capture a moth.  

 

This phenomenon could stimulate the following driving questions:

  • How do bats locate their prey in the dark?

  • How can bats tell the difference between prey and other objects?

  • How do the behaviors of bats change in relation to the feedback they receive?

  • How can the bats process this information so quickly?

  • Do bats use other senses to locate and acquire prey?

  • Why do bats “curl up” when they capture their prey?


This resource could be coupled with (https://youtu.be/gZxLUNHEmPw) which shows bats locating water.  

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 6
  • Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

MS-LS1-4 Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively.

Clarification Statement: Examples of behaviors that affect the probability of animal reproduction could include nest building to protect young from cold, herding of animals to protect young from predators, and vocalization of animals and colorful plumage to attract mates for breeding. Examples of animal behaviors that affect the probability of plant reproduction could include transferring pollen or seeds, and creating conditions for seed germination and growth. Examples of plant structures could include bright flowers attracting butterflies that transfer pollen, flower nectar and odors that attract insects that transfer pollen, and hard shells on nuts that squirrels bury.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Observing the video of the bat using echolocation to capture the moth could help students develop an understanding that this species of organism uses characteristic behaviors to capture prey thereby affecting their probability of survival.

MS-LS1-8 Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include mechanisms for the transmission of this information.

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Observing the video of the bat using echolocation to capture the moth could help students generate questions that can help lead to an understanding of the how biosensory feedback can cause changes in the behavior of an organism.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students watching the video will notice changes in the patterns of sounds emitted by the bat during location and capture of prey. These different patterns will lead students to wonder why the emitted sounds change and whether there is a relationship between the behavior of the bat and those sounds. The teacher should prompt students to observe the phenomena and be prepared to guide students, based on what they viewed in the video. Teachers can use the questions provided in the description of this resource to prompt student questions.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This video allows students to directly observe a bat using unique behaviors (echolocation) to locate and capture prey mid-flight. The teacher can use this phenomenon to prompt questions about how and why these behaviors occur to help students build toward an understanding of this core idea.

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The video allows students to directly observe a bat responding to mechanical inputs (sounds), resulting in immediate behaviors (lifting feet, capturing moth, curling body to bring moth to the mouth). The teacher can this use this phenomenon to prompt questions about how and why this process happens to help students build toward understanding this core idea.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
As students observe this phenomenon and others like it, they can be encouraged to look for patterns in their observations. As they do this, they will notice different patterns in the sounds emitted by the bat correspond to different behaviors exhibited by the bat. This can lead to questions about whether the changes in the sounds result in changes in behaviors. Teachers can use question prompts (http://stemteachingtools.org/assets/landscapes/STEM-Teaching-Tool-41-Cross-Cutting-Concepts-Prompts.pdf) to help students utilize the crosscutting concepts as a way to make sense of the observed phenomena.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: - none -

  • Instructional Supports: - none -

  • Monitoring Student Progress: - none -

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -