Lesson Plan

Bat and Moth

large group of brown bats hanging from a cave ceiling
Discover the niche habitat of bats in Alaska

NPS Photo

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Grade Level:
Second Grade-Fifth Grade
Biology: Animals, Wildlife Biology
National/State Standards:
Alaska State Standards
Science: A12, 14, 15; B1, 2, 3; D1, 2;
habitat, niche, bats


Use America's largest national park as a pathway to discovery!

In this lesson, students learn about the bat’s “niche” in an ecosystem by playing the part of these little critters.


Using discovery and observation, students will better understand the role of little creatures as they relate to their habitat and other living things.


Explain the following to the students:

Not all little creatures can be found during the day. What are some little creatures that are active at night? (bats, moths and other insects, some mice and other rodents). How does a bat find its food? (Through the use of sonar. The bat sends out a high pitched sound as it flies. If those sound waves hit something—a moth or some kind of obstacle—they bounce back to the bat. Through this use of sonar, a little bat can catch and eat up to 3,000 insects in one night).



Discuss the niche that bats have in the ecosystem. (A niche is the “job” of an animal or plant.)

Suppose that we decide to kill all of the bats in the area. What effects might that have on us? (We might have a huge problem with mosquitoes and other insects.)

What effects might that have on other plants and animals? (Different plants might be killed or injured by the increased number of insects. This in turn would affect the animals that use these plants as food or shelter.)

Additional Resources

This lesson is part of our "Pathways to Discovery" unit. The individual lessons can be done individually or as a larger unit of learning. They encourage the development of a student’s awareness and appreciation of the natural world and people’s relationship and role as a part of that natural world.

The lessons are a series of shorter activities that have been blended together under a specific theme with the intent that the activities will be coordinated with units in the existing school curriculum and texts. The materials are organized by grade level, but can actually be adapted for use at any grade level. Check out the full Pathways to Discovery unit of lessons, as well as links to other stand-alone lessons like this one.

Last updated: April 14, 2015