The theme of bats in a computer lab must include Stellaluna by Janell Cannon.
Stellaluna is a fruitbat, better know as a flying fox, who is separated from her mother and lives with a family of birds. The main focus of the book is how bats and birds are different even though they can both fly. I have a copy of the book in the library to show children how computers and books are often integrated.
The story is rich in scientific vocabulary. We talk about animals that are nocturnal and use echolocation.
There are also new words to add:
Babble- talking quickly and in a way that is hard to understand.
Clutched- to hold on tightly
Muse- to think for a long time
Perched- to sit at a high vantage point
Sultry- very hot and moist
The lesson will lead to how fruitbats are found mostly in the rain forest (and sometimes zoos). The bats we often see at night flying around the street lights are insectivores. Even bats can be different from one another (just like humans). They play a very important role in our environment by keeping the insect population in control.
So many differences, and yet, they all work together to make our environment better!
Way back in 1989 a company called Pressman made a “board game” called Acrobats. It was advertized as “The Battiest Balancing Game Ever!” I picked it up at a yard sale. The dice were gone and the box had seen better days, but the game is still fun and it is a permanent part of my Bat Theme.
The children take turns and see how many bats they can get to hang in “the cave.” There are basic balancing principles and fine motor skills that are enhanced. The game also seems to lead to lots of giggling.
Bats are often viewed as being creepy creatures, but they are very important to our environment. Bats are insectivores and most nights eat their own weight in bugs. When that is added up bat by bat, it is easy to see we would have many more mosquitoes to deal with if it weren’t for bats. Bats are nocturnal and that is the reason we don’t often see them. We start the theme by learning a fingerplay on the Sticky Board.
Five Black Bats
Five black bats hanging upside down.
The first black bat did not make a sound…
The second black bat said “I’ll fly far into the night.”
The third black bat said “I don’t like the sunlight.”
The fourth black bat said “I want to eat some bugs.”
The fifth black bat said “Let me give you a hug.”
Five black bats hanging upside down
Shh! It’s daylight, don’t make a sound!
Bats are the only mammal that truly flies and with their hands! To demonstrate this to the students, I trace their hands on folded paper and then draw a bat wing around their fingers.
When cut out and folded in the middle, it’s wings will flap. The students are ready to do the fingerplay again with their own bats!
We are getting ready to change themes. There are other changes in the classroom we want to look at first…
This is how our Worm Farm looked a few weeks ago. The we added a container of red wigglers (about 30 worms) to the farm.
Do you see any changes?
The students wanted one end of the habitat marked as the kitchen. This is where we add the food. The earthworms travel from one end to the other and the food quickly disappears. The newspaper is getting darker and we will need to add another layer as the worms eat it. The Worm Farm will be with us, now, until the end of the school year. Since we have added adult and young worms, we hope to keep the life cycle going. Maybe we will not need to buy worms next year?
The Worm Farm is now squirming with activity. Each day the students want to check on the worms and we talk about how the farm and the worms are changing.
A worm jar with plastic worms in Coconut Fiber Substrate is in the library. Students can get a close up look at the worms’ natural habitat.
The first week we observe the worms and take notes on their color and size.
Gloves are used to protect the worms from salt and chemicals that are on our hands. Water and a small amount of vegetables or fruit must be added each week to keep the habitat balanced.