Bats make images
Classroom Activity for 14-16
What the Activity is for
Bats see somewhat differently from us – they
see with sound. They also actively sense their environment, unlike humans. We see with reflected light but we don't produce that light. Bats build up a picture of their environment with sound that they produce.
This activity explores the source-medium-detector model, and encourages students to use it explicitly.
What to Prepare
- find or invent a piece of writing, or other media, on bats' abilities to echolocate eg
- a collection of bat sounds
What Happens During this Activity
Students read, listen to, or watch the expository media. They should translate what they comprehend into a diagram that explains, in terms of source, medium and detector, how the particular process occurs. You might set up the activity as compare and contrast, by having an environment in the laboratory that is sensed using the student's eyes.
You might also have available other pieces of apparatus which have been used for remote sensing using radiations: from the SPT: Earth in space topic; analogues of ultrasound scanning used elsewhere in your courses; or sonic rulers.
Students should end up with with a diagrammatic account of what the bat is doing in imaging its surroundings, perhaps comparing this with what humans do in constructing the scene they are looking at in the laboratory.