Fabulous Resources and Extension Ideas for This Month’s Cover Story

By Lauren Salisbury
April 15, 2019

Tim Flachy/Getty Images

The gripping nonfiction article in the May issue of Scope, written mostly in second person, draws students into the world of bats. In particular,  “Stalking the Bat Killer” explores white-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease that is devastating bat colonies across the U.S., and how people are trying to help.

After reading the article, explore the guiding questions and resources below to keep your students' learning going.

What makes bats such extraordinary and important animals?   

Check out these two videos and a website:

Visiting the Largest Bat Colony on Earth!

What are scientists across the U.S. doing to tackle the problem of WNS?

  • Studying the survivors: The Pennsylvania scientists in this National Geographic video are studying how some bats are adapting to the fungus and surviving.
  • Treating the infected: The Michigan scientists in this Vice News video are treating infected bats with a special compound that is helping some bats survive the winter.
  • Early detection: The South Carolina, Missisippi, and Arkansas researchers in this Untamed Science video are developing ways to help with early detection and treatment of WNS.
  • Delaying the disease: The Missouri scientists in this National Geographic video are using a special bacteria—the same one that delays the ripening of fruits and vegetables—to delay WNS from peaking during the critical months while bats are hibernating. Scientists hope that doing this will give bats a better chance of survival.
White Nose Syndrome Is Killing Millions Of Bats In The U.S.

What threats do bats in my state or region face?

If your students are completing the writing prompt on page 10, the following organizations’ websites are a great place to start. Students can use this guided-writing activity to help organize and present their research.

2 engaging activities to choose from:

  • Research a species of bat that lives in your region or state. In an essay, slideshow, video, or podcast, explain the key biological features of the bat, the role the bat plays in its ecosystem, any threats the bat currently faces, and ongoing conservation efforts. Be sure to interview at least one bat expert.
  • Create your own TED talk about why bats are important, what threats they face, and what we can do to help. Use information from “Stalking the Bat Killer” and the resources above.
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