Friday, August 3, 2018

Cave Unit: Day 6

This is one part  of a Caves Unit Study intended to be done before (or after) visiting Inner Space Caverns or another cave.   This study uses One Small Square Cave by Donald Silver (available at Waco McClennan County Library) as the main text.   It also uses the Junior Cavers Workbook which you can download for free from the National Park Service Website, and various other free resources and activities.  You can read the intro and find other sections of this unit here.

 I'm in no way affiliated with Inner Space Caverns.  

These pages may include Amazon affiliate links which can earn me commission.

Day 6:  Section 8
Seeing by Hearing: Pg 22 - 23

NOTE:  While this is a short section, if your child is interested in bats you may want to spend a couple days on extended reading and activities.   Choose the activities that work best for you.

Read Section 7, pg 18 - 21. (Read sidebar after you've read and discussed the rest of the section)

  • What are some things that make bats so well suited to live in caves? 

1. SIDEBAR:  Listen Closely/Echo...Echo...Echo - Pg 23. Do the "Listen Closely" activity  now and save the "Echo" activity to do later while visiting a cave.

2.   Read the Hanging Around With Bats Texas Wild and do the activities.

3.  Do page 11, 14 and 15 of the Junior Cavers Workbook 

4.  The Mexican Freetailed Bat is the Texas State Flying Mammal.  Read the short article A Year in the Life of a Mexican Freetailed Bat  or the free printable storybook Frankie the Freetailed Bat.

5.  INNER SPACE PREP:  I was curious about the temperature in the cave, and whether bats in the cave migrated like the Mexican Freetailed bat, or whether there were other bats who stayed there year long.  Brandi Clark of Inner Space Caverns gave me this excellent answer.  
It truly is 72 degrees at Inner Space Cavern year-round with up to a 98% humidity rate. On blazing hot days or opposite chilly winter days - the cavern remains a constant 72 degrees. It remains the same temperature due to the average ground temperature in this area. Neat, right?!
In our cave, we have Eastern Pipistrelle bats (also known as Tri-Colored bats) who find comfortable refuge in those temperatures. These are solitary bats, unlike the Mexican Freetails and do not migrate.
So, for an activity you could also look up Eastern Pipistrelle bats to learn more about them.

6.  FIELD TRIP:  You can go bat watching right around town.  Here are some good places to find bats in Waco and surrounding area.
  • Cameron Park Zoo has Jamaican Fruit Bats (Artibeus jamaicensis) in their Brazos at Night exhibit.  These bats use echolocation (unlike many fruit bats) and sometimes live in caves.  (Learn more about them here or here.) 
  • After dark, I've spotted bats at the Walmart on Hewitt Drive.  They will swoop in and grab insects congregating near the lights.
  • If you don't mind going a little further, Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. (March - November)  Learn more here or print guide here (the printable guide has what the bats are doing each month).
  • Find a guide on more places to view bats in Texas here.
7.  Build or Install a Bat House.  You can find a guidebook on how to make your own bat house a list of certified Bat House Vendors here. There are also various bat house design here, or you can buy a pre-made bat house or kit.

8.   7 science activities you can do related to bats can be found here.

9.  Use this infographic to learn about bat anatomy.

10.  Make an origami bat (or a simpler one here, or this bookmark).

11. Various bat crafts.

12.  Bat dot art.

13.  Bat Unit Study and Various Other Resources.

14.  Various Bat Resources.

15.  Even more resources.



Slo-Mo of Bat Using Echolocation to Find Water
All About Bats for Kids
Oilbirds (cause they were mentioned too) 

Learn about blind people who use echolocation to see.  (Yes, you heard that right...there are people who are blind are learning how to use echolocation!  Those who have previously been sighted says it's comparable to regular vision  only without color and in a more limited range).  
The Boy Who Sees Without Eyes  This video contains one error.  It says this is the ONLY person who does this, and there are actually many blind people who use echolocation to see.  But I thought that since the boy was a teen and this video was shorter that kids might enjoy this one. 
How a Blind Man Sees With Sound  This one goes into slightly more detail.  But no kids in the video. 
Older kids might enjoy learning about this in more depth.  Here's two good longer resources on this subject:
Blindness No Obstacle to Those With Sharp Ears  (Audio Podcast)
TED Talk:  Teaching the Blind to Navigate the World Using Tongue Clicks

There are SO MANY BOOKS on bats at our local libraries, both fiction and many more than I feature below.   These are just the ones I read with my child, or that I missed but thought looked especially interesting or relevant to our area.

TEXAS BATS (Fiction and Non-Fiction)

Batty About Texas
It's a fiction book about Bo the Mexican free-tailed bat.   Haven't read it, but wish we had cause it's about Texas bats!  It's recommended for age 4-7.  You can find it at Waco Library.

Freddie the Freetailed Bat
Another book about Freetailed Bats, NOT available at our local library but can be downloaded for free courtesy of the State of Texas, or you can buy a physical copy  on Amazon.

There's several non-fiction books about bats at Waco Library.  These are all for grown ups but might also be interesting for kids.


Amazing Bats
We actually picked this one up at a garage sale, but it's also available at the Hewitt Library.   It has fun facts and trivia about bats and lots of great pictures.  My son asked to read it over and over and over and over and OVER AGAIN.   (Seriously, this was our nightly bedtime story for MONTHS).   Recommended for kids age 6 - 11. of Night
A beautifully illustrated book about a year in the life of a brown bat.   It's sort of on the side of narrative non-fiction, if I remember.   Recommeded for ages 6-10.  Available at Hewitt Library.


Bat Loves the Night
This book tells a story, but includes lots of facts about bats along the way.   The illustrations are beautiful and realistic.   The story is simple and has a poem-like feel.  There are sidebars with more info, which I suggest going back to read after reading the story straight through (because they can interrupt the rhythm of the story and make it clunky if you read them while reading the main story).   This book is recommended for children age 4-8, though some readers suggest it for older children (my child was 7 when we read this).  It's available at Hewitt Library and Waco Waco Central Library.

Stellaluna has been a favorite book with all three of my children since they were little, so I include it here even though it's about a Fruit Bat (and they don't generally have echolocation or live in caves).   But, if you are expanding this to learn about bats in general it would be nice to include.  It has a charming story about a bat who is adopted by birds, and beautiful illustrations.  The dialog is so fun to read...the birds talk in short chirpy phrases while the bats take on smoother tones.   It's fanciful, but also has real details about bat life, and a little non-fiction section about Fruit Bats in the back.   It's recommended for ages 4-7 (but I think you could go a little older or younger, depending on your children).  It's available at all Waco Libraries and Hewitt Library.

Bat book series by Brian Lies
These books are not remotely informative, but they are so fun.  They follow fictional bats as they explore different places, and have fun doing things real bats never do (but with some real bat flair).   They are recommeded for kids age 4-7 years old, my my 9 year old read one recently and loved it, so that's flexible.  Various ones of these are available at the Hewitt and Waco Libraries.

My New Friend Is So Fun!
How did I miss this one?   Seriously, my son LOVES Elephant and Piggie Books, and he LOVES this would have been perfect!   So, no, I haven't read this one...YET.   But Elephant and Piggie books are  great "read-on-your-own" books for new readers.   They are also great "read-with-a-friend" books.   My kiddo largely learned to read through these books--with me reading Piggie's part, and him reading Elephant's (these were the first books he ASKED to read, vs being forced to read).  I imagine it's not hugely informative, but will be lots of fun.   It is available at Hewitt and Central and South Waco Libraries.    It's recommended for ages 4-8 years old, but honestly, my kiddo still loves these at 10....cause funny doesn't grow old.


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