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Humans & Bats

A close up view of a pointy-nosed bat with fluffy orange fur

Lesson Plan by Jennifer Zapata

suggested for k - 2nd grade


Bats play an important role in ecosystems all over the world, including in Los Angeles County. They are excellent pollinators and keep insect populations under control, save the agricultural industry billions of dollars annually, and are the only mammals that can fly! There are over 1,400 species of bats and they live on every continent except Antarctica.

Yet fears and misconceptions about bats have endangered their survival across the world. In this lesson we demystify these marvelous, yet often misunderstood, nocturnal creatures by exploring bat species native to Los Angeles County and how they have adapted to survive.


  • Bats play an important role in an ecosystem but are often misunderstood, and therefore threatened, by human activity.
  • Bats are excellent pollinators and keep our insect populations under control.
  • Bats are mammals and share similarities with humans, while also having unique qualities about them.


  • Students will compare and contrast bats and humans.
  • Students will learn how human impact affects bat habitats and populations through cause and effect relationships.


  • Classroom: 1 hour
  • Visit: 30 minutes


Classroom, with possible Museum connections in:



  • Ecosystem
  • Pollinator
  • Mammal
  • Pesticide


  1. Teacher Information Pages: These pages debunk popular bat myths that have affected the reputations of bats worldwide and throughout history. These harmful myths have perpetuated hostile relationships between humans and bats and has threatened the survival of bat populations despite their many natural benefits to human interests and human survival as well. Links to K-2 friendly educational videos about bats can be used as a supplemental resource.
  2. Bat Dangers and Solutions: These graphic organizers will be used to discuss the ways that bats are being negatively affected by human activity, and will follow up with ways where humans can begin making better changes.
  3. Bats Can, Have, and Are Graphic Organizer: This can be completed as a whole group discussion or done independently by students. There are two versions with writing and drawing prompts. A teacher sheet has been provided with suggested answers. Option to do this as a primer before a field trip.
  4. Age of Mammals Research Note-taking Sheet: Designed to be paired with a field trip to the Age of Mammals Hall, this sheet can be used to explore how humans and bats are both mammals, yet also have unique evolutionary changes that are discussed in the hall. Younger grades can accommodate these questions into whole-group discussions about how we are alike and different.
  5. Mammal to Mammal – Humans and Bats: This graphic organizer provides six boxes for students to write or draw traits that bats and humans have. A teacher sheet has been provided with suggested answers.
  6. Persuasive Essay: This extension activity can be used as part of a mini-research project for students to explore how bats are being threatened by human impact on the environment and their habitats.


  • Kinder: NGSS: ESS3.A; ESS3.C; NGSS: ETS1.A; ETS1.B; LS1.C
  • 1st grade: NGSS: LS1.A-B; LS1.D; LS3.A; ET S1.A-C
  • 2nd grade: NGSS: LS4.D; ETS1.B
  • Writing Standards: W. 1.1; W. 1.1-1.1; 2.2 (1st) ; W. 1.1-1.4 (2nd)
  • Reading Standards: RC 2.3; 2.5 (K); RC 2.6; (1st); RC 2.5; 2.6 (2nd)