Sensational Ears

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					                                  Sensational Ears

  1. This simulation activity will enable students to attempt to catch a moving
     object using only their sense of hearing.
  2. Students will generalize why larger ears may enable insect-eating bats to locate
     their food efficiently.


  1. copy paper lids
  2. marbles
  3. bat ears (cupped hands or try semicircle shaped paper - small and large sizes)


  1. Introduction
     How can an insect-eating bat cat its prey using only its sense of hearing? Think
     about whether or not it should be hard to catch something you could not see.
     Show the lid and the marble. Roll the marble in the lid and ask the students if
     they can hear it. Explain that the bat will have to close his or her eyes, and use
     the bat ear like a mitt. With the hand cupping the back of the ear, the ear will
     funnel the sound.
  2. Begin the activity
     a. Divide the class into groups of 3 (2 movers and 1 bat). Students will rotate
     jobs after each turn.
     b. Distribute the lids, marbles, and bat ears to each group.
     c. Without closing their eyes, the bats will practice catching the marble between
     the thumb and forefinger as the movers gently move the lid from side to side.
     d. Have bats put the bat ear on their non-dominant hand. Close eyes and try to
     catch the marble while the movers gently move the lid.
     e. Change jobs once the marble is caught. Do this until everyone in the group
     has had a turn catching the marble.
  3. Group Discussion
     - Discuss among the group how it felt to catch the marble using only the sense
     of hearing.
     - Write how it felt on the lines of the bat ears (if using paper – if not, do so in
     their science notebooks.
  4. Class discussion
     - Was it as easy to catch the marble with your eyes closed as when you could
     see it?
       - Did anyone develop a strategy to help find the marble with your eyes closed?
       - What do you know about the physical characteristics of bats that use
       - How do large ears help them find their food?
       - Explain in your own words how bats use echolocation.


   1. Did students conclude that an insect-eating bats sense of hearing is different
      than their own?
   2. Were students able to associate keen hearing with echolocation abilities?


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