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Batty About Science

Experiment #7 from Investigating Motion

Education Level
Elementary School


  • Bats are not blind, but for most bats, their sense of hearing is better than their sense of sight. Bats use echolocation (a type of sonar that allows them to emit a very loud, high-pitched sound and then interpret the echoes) to locate their prey and capture it.
  • Bats are not “mice with wings.” They belong to their own group, called chiroptera, which means hand-wing. They are the only mammals that really fly! (Flying squirrels don’t fly; they glide.)
  • Bats are not our enemies. Of the 900+ species of bats, only three species are vampire bats, and they are limited to Latin America. Vampire bats do not like the taste of human blood. They prefer the blood of cattle and other livestock.
  • Bats are important to humans. They contribute to a healthy ecosystem. In areas where bats have been wiped out, insects increase rapidly and cause agricultural problems. Bats are also important as pollinators and seed distributors.


  • You will lean how bats sense their prey by pretending that the Motion Detector is a bat and that you are its prey.
  • Discover how this movement is graphically represented.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #7 of Investigating Motion. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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