Bat Moth


This game introduces students to the different adaptations that nocturnal animals have through cooperation, communication, listening and awareness.


Students will be able to:

  • deepen their understanding of nocturnal animal adaptations


Age group: 4th-6th
Venue/s: Open space, inside or outside
Materials: Blindfold/bandana
Time: 20 minutes
Set up: None




Have you ever heard the term “blind as a bat?” Well, it isn’t actually true- All 1,100 species of bats worldwide can see, and their vision is actually pretty good, but not as excellent as other nocturnal animals that hunt at night. 70% percent of all bats eat insects, and all 15 species of bats found in Washington are insectivores. If bats don’t rely on their sense of sight to locate their prey, how do they hunt at night? These nocturnal, insectivorous bats guide themselves in the dark using a special sonar system, called echolocation. While flying, bats make high-frequency sounds that bounce off of objects and return to the bats as echoes. Bats brains’ process this auditory information into visual maps, which allows them to “see” in the dark. This is called echolocation and we are going to play a game that illustrates that special adaptation and we will be pretending to be bats locating our food.

The core lesson:

1. After introducing the concept of echolocation, have students stand in a circle. Choose one student to be the bat, and one student to be the moth.
2. The rest of the students are the trees for this round. (The best way to do this is to have each student rotate turns each round so that every student has the opportunity to be bat, moth, and tree.)
3. Give the bat a bandanna to blindfold themselves with. The bat relies on its sense of hearing to find and tag the moth. The moth also has adapted to hear the high-pitched sounds emitted during echolocation, so they will also rely on their sense of hearing to escape. Both bat and moth are in the center of the circle. Everyone else in the circle must be quiet, only saying “I’m a tree!” the bat or moth bumps into them and gently redirect them back into the circle. If the bat calls out “bat” the moth must answer “moth”. When the moth is touched by the bat, the round is over. OR you can have the bat clap once and the moth clap twice to show that the sound has bounced off the moth. The bat must track down the moth by using echolocation and walking around inside the circle of trees. The round is over once the moth is touched.


Was that fun? How did you use your senses differently than you normally do? Was this hard? How is this game similar to a bat using its adaptations in nature? How is it different?

Safety Considerations

Make sure you have selected an area of open space that is clear and the ground is even.
Students should not flail their arms around as the bat when pursuing the moth, because it is easy to accidentally smack someone that way. When students are acting as the moth, they should not get down on the ground because they can be stepped on by the bat. Some students may be uncomfortable with being blindfolded, and instructor should use discretion and be sensitive with students pushing personal boundaries.

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