Engage: Pick twelve students and give each one either a picture card or the description card, and have those twelve students stand in the front of the classroom. Each student with a description card will read the information on his/her card aloud to the class and try to make a match with one of the picture cards. After all of the cards have been correctly matched, facilitate a discussion about how animal senses help animals survive in their environment. Animals use their senses to receive input from their environment so they will know how to respond. Explain to students that today's lesson will focus on echolocation. Dolphins and bats have this special sense. Show the video, How Dolphins Echolocate and Imitate.
Explore: Place students into groups of three. Tell groups to take turns blindfolding each other and have the blindfolded student stand at the start of the taped-off path while the other student continues ahead on the path. For the blindfolded student to determine where to walk, have him/her say "Marco," while another group member responds with "Polo". If he/she pays close attention to where the sound comes from, the blindfolded student should be able to accurately follow the path. After the activity, ask students, "How difficult was it to determine exactly where you were going and how far you had left to get to the end of the path? Can you think of anything that might have made it any easier?" (Responses could include a walking stick or cane, or someone holding their hand, etc.)
Explain: Remind students dolphins use echolocation for communication as well as to locate things in their environment. Echolocation is a series of clicks or whistles that dolphins use to communicate. Show the video, Communicating with Dolphins Using Echolocation. Then distribute the My Echolocation Sheet rubric (one per student). Tell students they will create their own type of echolocation to communicate with each other instead of speaking with words. Students will work together in groups. Each group should create a method of echolocation that is unique to their group. Can they devise a way to ask the other members of their group for a fish to eat?
Elaborate: Have students write a narrative, from the viewpoint of a dolphin, describing how a dolphin uses echolocation to communicate and to locate things in their environment to aid in their survival. Students should use their imaginations and be creative. Narratives will be posted on the bulletin board to be shared with the class.