LESSON 3 - The Adventure of Echo the Bat

Students will:

  • Compare different habitats based on satellite imagery.
  • Identify land features in the satellite imagery

Materials Needed:


Adventure Map worksheet (153k) - pdf document

Worksheet (choose either or both content focuses)
[ Remote Sensing ] or [ Biodiversity ]

Worksheet answer keys

Computer access required for student or group of students (see requirements)

Arizona - Landsat mosaic


How could satellite images help scientists study animals? Have students hypothesize what characteristics of satellite imagery can be of benefit to animals. For example, "Can you see houses from space? No. Can you see cities from space? Yes. Who lives in cities? People. Where do animals live? Forests, rivers, oceans, etc... Can you see their habitats from space? Yes! "


The Adventure of Echo the Bat is an interactive web site. Students will need access to a computer equipped with a 4.0 web browser to participate in this activity. Students begin the adventure by selecting the "Echo the Bat" section of the Student's Site.

A content map is available for teachers to view the content independent of the adventure interaction.

The adventure begins with a short story about Echo the Bat. Echo is separated from his mother by a forest fire at the end of the story. Echo has to migrate to a cave somewhere in southern Arizona to meet his mother again. The story intro sets the stage for the interactive adventure. Using the Adventure Map, the students will map Echo's movements as he travels through Arizona. The worksheet asks questions which are answered throughout the adventure. This requires them to look more closely at the content presented. Approximate time to complete the adventure is 35-45 minutes. Depending on the computer experience of the students, it may be even faster.

Follow up the adventure with the math questions at the end of the worksheet. Students will need a ruler for this exercise.


The adventure introduces identifying land features and interpreting the colors of satellite imagery. From this, content is introduced about how scientist can identify habitats in the satellite imagery and students are asked to find Echo in a habitat visible in the satellite image.

Application of satellite imagery for studying biodiversity
Satellite imagery is used to identify and locate different habitats. By knowing the habitats, scientists can predict what types of animals should be living in that location. Then, scientists can go visit that location to conduct a field study to confirm their predictions. By identifying and counting the animals in a particular habitat, scientists can determine whether that habitat is biodiverse. See unit 3 on biodiversity.


Print out the Arizona Landsat mosaic. Have students pick three points on the image. Ask them to write a paragraph about the land features and animals they would see at each point. Then, using an atlas and other resources, have them check there answers by comparing the Landsat image with the map. Hint: If they can identify a location (city or mountain range) they could use other resources to identify the habitat.

If a color printer is not available, have students view the Arizona Landsat mosaic provided on the Student's Site - Remote Sensing section : (http://science.hq.nasa.gov/imagers/teachersite/rs_student.html)


Use the writing sample to assess their knowledge of identifying land features and habitats from the satellite image.

Tips for Teachers

  • The computer portion of this activity may be done individually or in groups of two or three.
  • If time is limited, omit the worksheet activity. Then present the math questions at the next class period. They only need there adventure maps to work the math problems.



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NASA Official: Ruth Netting
Last Updated: March 27, 2007
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