This lesson can be completed in a one 90 minute session or two 45 minute sessions.
1. Read What If You Had Animal Ears? by Sandra Markle. Discuss how each ear is designed and how it helps the animal survive.
2. The teacher will display Examples of Bat Ears via projector or another device. The class will discuss what the bat ears have in common and why the ear designs help bats hear so well.
3. The students will look at a partner's ear. What part of our ears helps us hear? (the curvy shapes on our ears) Why would a bat's ear be better at hearing than ours?
4. The teacher will explain the STEM challenge: How can you create bat ears from the available materials that will improve your hearing?
5. The teacher will distribute How Can I Have Bat Ears? Design Page and explain the task sheet.
- Remind students that the bat ear models created are to go around the ear, not in the ear. (If you are allowing students to build on to baseball caps, remind them they have this option.)
6. Have students examine and feel materials before designing bat ear models. Students need to think about properties of each material and how it will help with the design or challenge.
7. As students work on bat ear designs, the teacher will have one student up at a time to test human hearing (control test). Refer to the How Can I Have Bat Ears? Design Page for guidance.
- Control Test: To test the students' human ears, use a device with volume control and some type of audio sound. With the volume on the lowest audible sound, ask the student, "How far away could you hear the sound or music?"
8. Once all students have collected the control data, the students will design/create bat ears with the provided materials.
9. Instruct the students to follow the directions on the How Can I Have Bat Ears? Design Page to create model bat ears.
- "Now, design a pair of ears from the materials that are similar to a bat’s ears. Can you improve your hearing?
- Draw a picture of the bat ears you will design and label the materials used.
- Ask the students "Why do you think these will work? How is this design like a real bat’s ears?"
- Create model bat ears using the illustrated design.
9. Once the models are complete, the students will test the bat ear designs by completing another hearing test and comparing data.
- Bat Ear Test 1: To test the students' human ears, use a device with volume control and some type of audio sound. With the volume on the lowest audible sound, ask the student,
- "How far away could you hear the sound or music?"
- What was the difference in length between the control test and this test?
- The students will compare data from the Bat Ear Test 1 to the Control Test. Did this design improve their hearing ability?
11. Students will redesign the bat ear models to improve their ability to hear using bat ears and write about changes needed to improve the designs using the How Can I Have Bat Ears? Design Page.
12. Have students make adjustments to the bat ear designs and conduct one last Bat Ears Test 2 following the previous steps. Students should compare results to determine if the improvements were successful.
13. In pairs, have students turn and talk to discuss the bat ear design models using the following questions/topics.
- What worked, what didn't work on the designs?
- How did they improve the designs to hear better?
- Why is the bat's ear design important for them to survive, grow and meet their needs?
14. In a whole group discussion pose the question, "How can we design a solution to help people who may experience a loss of hearing to meet their needs?"
Provide feedback throughout the discussion to include key vocabulary and terms.
15. Display the bat ear models in the hallway for other classrooms to observe.