Science 4: Echolocation
Bats can basically see things by screaming at them. Awesome, right? We wish we could do that.
|Elementary and Middle School||4th Grade|
Ah, the lone Lego piece. [Boy stands on a Lego piece and his sunglasses fall off]
Ruins operation cold pizza every time. [His parents walk in to kitchen and switch the lights on]
You know what never runs into that problem?
And not just because they don't leave Legos lying around. [A bat flies in and takes the slice of pizza]
It's all thanks to a little something called echolocation. [Echo waves coming from the bat]
To figure out what echolocation is, let's take a look at the word itself.
We can break it down into two parts: echo, and location. [Coop pointing at a blackboard]
That's no accident.
Echolocation is the use of sounds to find objects. [Dino pointing at a blackboard]
So how does it work?
Pretty easily, actually!
An animal emits a sound, and if the sound wave hits something… [The sound wave bounces off a tree]
…then it bounces back to the animal, and they know that something's there. [The bat flies in the other direction]
So echolocation is literally using echoes to find locations. [Coop pointing at a blackboard]
The word's almost too perfect.
We can see how echolocation works with bats.
Although bats aren't actually blind, they do rely on echolocation instead of their vision [Bat walking along the pavement with a stick and dark glasses]
to get all sorts of useful information.
For one thing, they use it to find prey. [Insect moving on the floor]
Lots of bats hunt insects, and even though insects are pretty small, they're big enough
to hit with sound waves. [A bat flies in and picks up the insect]
Which is good for the bat, bad for the insect.
…Unless the insect likes being devoured whole. [Insect says this is greatest day of my life as he is carried away by the bat]
Bats also use echolocation to find things they aren't going to devour, like obstacles. [Bat emitting sound waves]
The audio information a bat gets from, say, a tree trunk is way different from what it
gets from an insect…
…so the bat will know to fly the other way…
…instead of going for the kill. [Bat swoops down]
Knocking yourself unconscious against a tree doesn't really fill up your belly. [Bat hits the tree and falls to the ground]
Echolocation is also useful for finding predators.
Although bats reign supreme over the insects…
…they do have to watch out for hawks and owls.
Sorry, not "watch out" for them…echolocate out for them. [An owl flies into the cave and the bat flies away]
Even though bats are pretty famous for their echolocation skills, they don't have a monopoly [Bat carrying a metal case labelled echolocation]
on echolocation in the animal world.
Lots of marine mammals, like dolphins, sperm whales, and killer whales use echolocation, [Bat drops the case into the ocean]
And since they happen to live underwater, instead of emitting sounds through the air,
they emit them through…you guessed it…the water.
This underwater echolocation even has a fancy name: sonar. [Dino pointing at a blackboard]
Sounds a lot better than "Super wet echolocation."
Oh, and uh…we wouldn't recommend trying out echolocation while you're driving. [Man blasting the horn on his car]
Probably not a great idea…