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Science Fun: Bats

There are some animals that can’t see with their eyes very well, but they can still move safely and find food. Bats are one of these wonderful and unique animals.

Most bats send out sounds that bounce off objects and return to the bat’s ears as echoes. A bat can decide where objects are, how big objects are, even the shape of objects so they know what is food and what they might run into.

Sound travels through air, through water, and through solids. When you speak, sound vibrations travel from your mouth through the air. Here’s an activity to “see” like a bat.

What you need for this activity:

a helper
some kind of blindfold

Directions:

1. Place the blind fold over your eyes.

2. Ask your helper to click his/her fingers or slap his/her hands above you, behind you, to your right, to your left, below you, and directly in front of you.

3. Guess where the sound is coming from each time.



Which was the direction that was hardest to figure out? Why do you think so?

Bats can tell what their prey is like by listening for changes in vibrations. Sound vibrations traveled through the air when your helper clicked fingers or clapped hands. But sound vibrations travel through liquids and solids too.

What you need for this activity:

a string
two small metal spoons
one large metal spoon
a helper

Directions:

1. Tie the string to one of the small spoon handles so that the spoon hangs in the middle of the string.

2. Wind one end of the string around one finger and the other end of the string around the other finger.

3. Put your left finger lightly in the entrance of your left ear. Put your right finger lightly in the entrance of your right ear.

4. Lean forward so the spoon hangs loosely. Ask your helper to lightly tap the other small spoon against the hanging spoon. Describe what you hear.

5. Tie the string in the same exact way to the large spoon and repeat step #4.

6. Now, do steps #4 and #5 again. But this time keep your eyes closed. Describe how you can tell the difference in sounds between the small spoon and the large spoon.

Questions to Answer: 1. Describe how this experiment might show how bats and some other animals might find their prey.

2. Name some animals that you think use sound vibrations to find food and to move safely through their environment.

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