Creatures of the Night
Images obtained from Bat Conservation International.
Grade Level: Second
Rationale: I chose this topic because it was scheduled as a unit in my second eight week placement. This unit uses a combination of science discovery centers, small group activities, and whole group discussions. During the second week of the unit, the students were able to observe "bats" in a "cave" that had been set up in the classroom. This unit was developed to be a two week thematic unit on bats. This unit introduces a lesson on mammals, which they will be studying this winter.
A unit on bats is a great way to expand of the concepts of observing and classifying. Studying bats allows for students to consider the physical differences between the two main groups of bats. It also provides a means for learning to compare different animals and their features. For example, students may notice that the wing of a bat is very structurally similar to the hand of a human. This will allow for a class discussion comparing and contrasting mammals. The question, "Is a bat a bird?" is one that will begin a wonderful discussion comparing the two animals. By merely providing pictures, the children will notice the finest of details and cite them as evidence to support their claims and generalizations. A bat unit is also a great way to encourage the use of technical and scientific terminology in your classroom. By the end of the unit, our students were speaking to one another about the subject using the terms that they had before believed that were used only by scientists. A great deal can be learned from a unit on bats--from social studies (how bats interact with their young) to measuring (using standard and non-standard units to compare wingspans) was covered in merely two weeks. In addition, many misconceptions exist about these creatures, and it gives the students a great deal of pride to have the evidence to explain the truth about bats to others, especially adults.