Field Trips

Bats in Your Backyard (4th and 5th Grade)

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Science,Social Studies
Common Core Standards:
4.L.4.a, 5.L.3, 5.L.6, 6-8.WHST.1.b
State Standards:


Bats are among the least studied and most feared and misunderstood animals. During this 90 minute classroom visit students learn about the diversity (the different types) and fascinating adaptations of bats. They study their roles (or jobs) in the ecosystem, including in Acadia National Park. The program even breaks through some popular myths about bats with a true/false "quiz"!

Characteristics of mammals are reviewed i.e. endothermic (warm-blooded, control body temperature internally), hair/fur, live birth (most), and nourish young with milk. Bat habits and habitats are discussed. Bats have the best hearing of all land mammals. The process known as echolocation allows these animals to sense in the dark. Echoes and sound waves are demonstrated with a ball and a slinky.

One way researchers can find bats to study is by using a bat detector. Students investigate bat anatomy and flight with the help of a bat skeleton and images. They play the Who Am I? Adaptation game and become bat detectives, figuring out the answers to a variety of clue questions by researching bats and their food sources. A short slideshow features the great diversity of bats from around the world.

Next, the program leader shows common household items that represent the importance of bats. Some examples of why they are important are food chains, reforestation, fertilizer, seed dispersal and pollination. More than 50% of U.S. bat species are in severe decline or listed as endangered. Losses are occurring at alarming rates worldwide.The presentation covers several threats to bats such as habitat loss and pollution. Special attention is given to white-nose-syndrome, a fungal infection that is decimating colonies of hibernating bats.

The final segment focuses on the different bat species in Acadia and research methods used in the park. We conclude by identifying ways we can all help bats survive such as recycling, education, bat houses, gardening, and less light pollution.

A researcher deploying a mist net

Researcher setting up mist net to observe bats in Acadia.
photo credit: Friends of Acadia/ Julia Walker Thomas


Program Planner

We are looking forward to visiting your classroom soon to present the “Bats in Your Backyard” program. This will provide your students with a special opportunity to learn about Acadia’s bats and the current threats they’re facing. If you have any questions about the program in advance, please call the education office at 288-8823, and/or 288-8825 on the day of the program.

Program Schedule:
  • 5 minutes Introduction and Bat True/False
  • 15 minutes Adaptations – Who am I? Game and Diversity Slideshow
  • 20 minutes Significance – Bat Importance Mystery Bags and WBAT Newscast
  • 40 minutes Acadia Research – Current Threats and Student Research Teams
  • 10 minutes Conclusion – What can You do?
Teachers’ Responsibilities
  • Supervise students and help them stay focused while on the program.
  • Ensuring that safe practices are followed throughout.
  • Nametags: Students need name tags. A piece of masking tape with name in marker is sufficient.
  • Set up a projector if possible to be used for a Powerpoint slideshow. Ranger will bring a laptop.
  • If time before the program date, review measuring using centimeters and millimeters with a ruler.
Program Goals:
To introduce the concepts of bat anatomy and adaptations.
To help students understand the importance of bats.
To develop an awareness of the severity of threats facing bats today.
To facilitate an appreciation of how the Park protects wildlife and habitat.
Program Objectives:
Students will be able to:
  • Identify and clarify two bat myths.
  • Compare/contrast two different types of bats.
  • Describe two adaptations bats utilize for survival.
  • Name two ways bats are important.
  • Explain a current threat bats face.
  • Describe how Acadia National Park is helping to conserve bat populations.
  • Recognize one way students can help conserve bat populations.
Learning Standards:
From the Next Generation Science Standards:

4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.


Acadia Education Office
email us
207-288-8822 or 8823

Last updated: April 3, 2019