It’s Teacher Feature Thursday!
This week we are featuring Elaine Mullally. Her two year old classroom was learning about animal habitats and decided to spend a week learning about caves and the animals that inhabit them. Below you will find a reflection from Elaine and images from her lesson on bats.
What were your topics of exploration?
We began the lesson by reviewing the features of a cave habitat (dark, stalactites, and stalagmites) and then focused on which animals call it home. This particular day we learned about bats and introduced the word echolocation.
What were your learning objectives? (What did you want your children to take away from the lesson?)
I wanted the children to be able to identify caves as a dark habitat that might be challenging for an animal to live. Since this lesson focused on the bat, I also wanted them to be able to understand how they have adapted to live in this environment through echolocation.
What was most successful about your lesson?
The most successful part of the lesson was the echolocation game we played during circle time. The class was very excited to pretend to be insects while I pretended to be a bat using echolocation to find and eat them. The silly bug and bat goggles helped them get into character. They were also able to demonstrate the way sound bounces from a bat, to the insect, then back to the bat’s ear by rolling a ball back and forth.
What could you have done differently? What recommendations would you have for another teacher trying out this lesson?
I would have chosen a different activity or game to play in the museum, or perhaps just find a book to read after observing the cave. It was a little too much for them to play a silly game twice and control their bodies in the museum.
Here are a few images from their unit on the bats:
Elaine began her lesson by re-introducing the group to caves. She then ready My First Book of Animals Homes by Eric Carle. The pages of the book are split so the top and the bottom pages turn independently, allowing the children to match which animal goes with each habitat. The students were excited when they were able to match the bat with the cave.
Elaine explained to the group that because of their environment bats need to use echolocation or a special type of hearing to catch their food. She used the green glasses as a way for the children to assume the bug character and black sunglasses with sharpie darkened lenses to become the bat.
She gave each child the opportunity to be the bug and then played a game where a ball represented sound traveling from the bat bouncing off the bug and returning to the bat.
Elaine would roll the ball to the child and then have them roll it back.
To show she had echo-located the bug she would come over and tickle the child.
She then took the group up to a cave in the Gems and Mineral Hall in the National Museum of Natural History.
Elaine reminded the children of the echolocation game they played in the classroom and then challenged them to send their “sound” or ball around a stalagmite to the bug.
The group had a great time using their echolocation in the museum.
This class had a wonderful time learning about bats and caves! Be sure to check back for our Teacher Feature next week!