Bats are one of my favorite animals, and I love sharing this interest with my students. In this blog, I’ll describe some of my favorite ideas and resources for teaching about bats. These ideas might be used as part of a Halloween-themed lesson, or could be taught any time of the year.
1. Read a Book About Bats
There are so many great books about bats! When I teach about them, I like to use a combination of literature and informational text. I’ll choose literature that helps students to empathize with bats, either because the story is from a bat’s perspective (such as Stellaluna) or because the story is about a person helping a bat (such as The Bat in the Boot). Then, to help students learn how interesting and unique bats truly are, I’ll read a non-fiction, informational text (such as Zipping, Zapping, Zooming Bats).
2. Build a Bat House
A bat house is exactly what it sounds like: a house for bats. It is similar to a bird house except that it is designed for the needs of bats. I’ve never done this activity with young people myself, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. I have built bird houses with students, and that has always been a hit. Activities like these are great for young people because they are hands-on and provide the opportunity to help animals in a tangible way.
3. Teaching About Bat Myths
There are many misconceptions about bats, and when people are uninformed about a certain topic, it can cause a lot of problems. I like to address these misconceptions — or myths — about bats when I teach about them. Sometimes I’ll even turn it into a game in which I’ll share a statement about bats and ask students to guess whether it is a “Myth or Fact.” This is a fun way to directly correct common misconceptions about these animals.
4. Watch an Educational Video About Bats
When it comes to educational videos about bats, there is an abundance of options. I like to show a Bat Conservation International video geared toward younger students. It gives a general overview about bats and explains how young people can help them. Additionally, bat videos from National Geographic and BBC Earth are sure to be a hit with students of any age.
5. Do a Bat Craft
Lastly, doing any kind of craft with young people is always going to be lots of fun, and if you search online, you’ll find plenty of options. My favorite craft activity is to have students make masks and then pretend to be bats or act out stories about bats. This is an entertaining way to connect the craft with a book or video about these animals. The KidZone.ws website also offers many craft options and printables.
I hope you find these activities helpful. Please leave a comment with your favorite ideas and resources for teaching about bats.