Bats & Bridges in Austin

A Family Fun Activity

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Bats & Bridges Activities and Assignments

The purpose of this activity unit is to have students think about BATS & BRIDGES, two things that are common in Austin, while also practicing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) related skills.

Choose as many activities as you like from the two lists to do over the next few weeks. Submit a photo of your family completing one of the Bats activities and one of the Bridges activities by November 18, 2015 to:

By submitting your photos, you give the Advanced Academics Department and AISD permission to publish your photo on our website or for other publicity purposes.

Activities about Bats

  • Read the list of “Bat Facts & Stats”
  • Read the article about bats in Austin at:

Answer these questions about your reading:

1. How many bats live under the Austin Congress Street Bridge?

2. How do bats help humans?

3. Approximately how many pounds of insects do the Austin bats eat in a week?

  • Visit a bridge at dusk such as the Congress Street Bridge and take photos of the bats flying overhead as they take flight into the night sky.

Answer these questions about your reading:

  1. How many bats do you estimate is in your best photo?
  2. How many bats do you estimate live in this bridge?
  3. What type of bats did you see, or do scientists document live there?

  • Many people fear bats. Design a poster, pamphlet or flier about why BATS ARE GOOD for our ecosystem.
  • Use the Map of the United States and design your own map legend that shows where different species of bats live in the U. S.
  • Use the instruction sheet and work with your family to build your own bat house.
  • Read the book Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon. Or, listen to the story online at:
  • Read other books from the list about bats.
  • Design your own artwork about bats. Be creative, use any media you would like to use!
Fun Facts About Bats
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Books about Bats!

Bat Jamboree, by Kathi Appelt
Shadows of Night, by Barbara Bash
The Great Ball Game, by Joseph Bruchac
The Bat in the Boot, by Annie Cannon
Bats: Swift Shadows in the Twilight, by Ann C. Cooper
Zipping, Zapping, Zooming Bats Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out Science, by Ann Earl

Iktomi and the Boulder, by Paul Goble
Amazing Bats - Eyewitness Juniors, by Frank Greenaway
Batty Riddles, by Katy Hall
Bats, by Sylvia Johnson
Scholastic’s the Magic School Bus Going Batty: A Book About Bats, by Nancy Krulik

Bats, Night Fliers, by Betsy Maestro
A Promise to the Sun, by Tololwa Mollel
Discovering Bats, by Jane Mulleneux
Batman: Exploring the World of Bats, by Laurence Pringle

Activities about Bridges!

Answer these questions about your reading:

  1. What is a suspension bridge?
  2. What type of bridge is the Pennybacker Bridge in Austin?
  3. What makes it different or special?
  4. Why was Mr. Pennybacker so famous for his bridge building in Austin?

  • Visit any of the historic bridges in Austin in person or online. (See list of bridges below) Take a photo of the bridge/s and answer the questions about the bridge below:

Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. Read about this bridge online at:

Lamar Boulevard Bridge. Read about this bridge online at:

Montopolis Bridge. Read about this bridge online at:

Pennybacker Bridge. Read about this bridge online at:

Mansfield Dam. Read about this bridge online at:


  1. Which bridge did you visit?
  2. What type of bridge is it?
  3. Why is this bridge a historic bridge?

· Design a map that shows where the 5 longest bridges are in the world. Use the provided map of the world and design your own map key or legend.

· Design a bridge using only newspapers and masking tape. (See attached instructions)

· Design a bridge of the future using only recycled items

· Read about bridges, bridge construction and some fiction books where the setting is a bridge. (See suggested reading list)

Learn more about bridges with the video "The Impossible Bridge"

The Impossible Bridge
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Books About Bridges

The World’s Most Amazing Bridges, by Michael Hurley

Bridges: Amazing Structures to Design, Build & Test (Kaleidoscope Kids), by Carol A. Johmann

Bridges: A History of the World’s Most Famous and Important Spans, by Judith Dupre and Frank O. Gehry

Bridges: The Science and Art of the World’s Most Inspiring Structures, by David Blockley

The Family Under the Bridge, by Natalie Savage Carlson and Garth Williams

Pop’s Bridge, by Eve Bunting

The Haunted Bridge (Nancy Drew # 15), by Carolyn Keene

Check out this interesting link online to see some creative digital bridge building ideas:

Cool photos of bridges around the world!