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Bats and the power of 10 by mandy crane

Bats and the Power of 10

By Mandy Crane


Lucy the bat grew up in an old barn on a ranch in Central Texas. She lived there with her mother, her mother’s four best friends, and their children. In all, there were 10 bats living in the barn, 5 mothers and 5 pups. They were Mexican free-tailed bats. Every night the momma bats would leave the warmth and comfort of the barn to go looking for food and Lucy desperately wanted to go with them.


As she watched the mommas fly away in the moonlight, she thought of all the adventures they must have. Lucy never left the barn and all that she knew of the world was the ten bats in her roost, no more and no less, only 10, until one day when a stranger came to visit.


After the mommas went out for the night, a strange bat flew into the barn seeking shelter. The other babies were scared, but Lucy felt sorry for him. He seemed so tired and alone, so Lucy told him he could stay, at least until the mommas came back and told him otherwise. “You look different. What is wrong with you?” asked Lucy. “Nothing is wrong. I am a little brown bat,” said the stranger.


“A little brown bat? Wow! I am a Mexican free-tailed bat. My name is Lucy.” “It is nice to meet you Lucy. My name is Bob. I have met many of your kind here in Texas. I even saw a colony of 20 million of you out in Braken.” “20 million!” exclaimed Lucy, “I don’t even know what that means. I only know the ten bats here in this barn. I didn’t even know that there were other bats anywhere.” “Just 10, huh? Well let me teach you about bats starting there. We’ll get up to the millions later,” explained Bob.


“You know exactly 10 bats. You are Mexican free-tailed bats and you eat mostly moths, right?” asked Bob.

“That’s right. Our mothers catch them for us,” said Lucy.


10 bats and you eat mostly moths, right?” asked Bob.1=10

Lucy knows ten bats.


“I am a little brown bat and we eat mostly mosquitoes. In fact one little brown bat can eat 100 mosquitoes in only ten minutes,” Bob told Lucy.

“Wow! 100 mosquitoes. That’s a lot,” said Lucy.

“It sure is,” said Bob.


10 fact one little brown bat can eat 100 mosquitoes in only ten minutes,” Bob told Lucy.2=100 10x10=100

Little brown bats can eat one hundred mosquitoes in ten minutes.


“Little brown bats sound amazing. Are there other kinds of bats?” asked Lucy.

Bob explained wide eyed, “There sure are. In fact, there are over 1000 different kinds of bats in the world. I, myself have only met the 50 or so that live here in the United States, but there are different species of bats all over the world and they are all amazing.”


10 bats?” asked Lucy. 3=1000 10x10x10= 1000There are about one thousand different species of bats in the world.


“Tell me more about my kind, the Mexican free-tailed bats,” asked Lucy. “Well, when I was a boy, I heard all about the Mexican free-tailed bats in Austin, Texas, where one colony of bats eats more than 10,000 pounds of insects every night. The city loves them for it. In fact they call themselves ‘Bat City.’ Can you imagine, a city of people who actually love bats and aren’t afraid of them like they are in so many other places? That was a place I had to visit,” Bob told Lucy.


10 bats,” asked Lucy. “Well, when I was a boy, I heard all about the Mexican free-tailed bats in Austin, Texas, where one colony of bats eats more than 10,000 pounds of insects every night. The city loves them for it. In fact they call themselves ‘Bat City.’ Can you imagine, a city of people who actually love bats and aren’t afraid of them like they are in so many other places? That was a place I had to visit,” Bob told Lucy.4=10,000 10x10x10x10=10,000 Bats in Austin, TX eat more than ten thousand lbs. of insects a night.


“What I saw when I got to Austin was so amazing. Those bats didn’t just live in caves and old buildings, but under a big bridge called the Congress Avenue Bridge right in downtown Austin,” said Bob. “Right where they could be seen? Weren’t they scared of all the people?” asked Lucy. Bob explained, “No, not at all. They are used to the people. In fact, about 100,000 people every year come to watch them fly out from under the bridge at dusk.”


10 bats didn’t just live in caves and old buildings, but under a big bridge called the Congress Avenue Bridge right in downtown Austin,” said Bob. “Right where they could be seen? Weren’t they scared of all the people?” asked Lucy. Bob explained, “No, not at all. They are used to the people. In fact, about 100,000 people every year come to watch them fly out from under the bridge at dusk.”5=100,000 10x10x10x10x10=100,000One hundred thousand people watch the bats fly out of Congress Bridge every year.


Lucy asked, “So how many bats are there at the Congress Avenue Bridge anyway?” “Depending on the time of year, there are between 500,000 and 1.5 million. Let’s just call it 1,000,000, though. That’s a nice round number,” said Bob. “Wow! 1,000,000 bats just like me living under a bridge!” Lucy repeated.


10 Avenue Bridge anyway?” “Depending on the time of year, there are between 500,000 and 1.5 million. Let’s just call it 1,000,000, though. That’s a nice round number,” said Bob. “Wow! 1,000,000 bats just like me living under a bridge!” Lucy repeated.6=1,000,000 10x10x10x10x10x10=1,000,000

There are about one million bats living under the Congress Avenue Bridge.


Bob and Lucy talked about bats into the wee hours of the night and Lucy learned many new things. When the mommas got back in the morning, they told Bob that he was welcome to stay as long as he wanted to. “Thank you very much, but I just need to get some rest and I’ll be on my way at dusk,” Bob said. “But will I ever see you again?” asked Lucy tiredly.


“Maybe some day when you go off on your own adventures, little one,” answered Bob. “Oh I feel like I’ve already had one after talking to you, but some day I’ll make it to that bridge, and I hope that you will be there, too,” yawned Lucy. “Maybe,” said Bob as Lucy drifted off to sleep with dreams of millions of different bats flying in her head.


TEKS little one,” answered Bob. “Oh I feel like I’ve already had one after talking to you, but some day I’ll make it to that bridge, and I hope that you will be there, too,” yawned Lucy. “Maybe,” said Bob as Lucy drifted off to sleep with dreams of millions of different bats flying in her head.

4.1 A) use place value to read, write, compare, and order whole numbers through 999,999,999

4.4 D) use multiplication to solve problems (no more than two digits times two digits without technology)

4.5 A) round whole numbers to the nearest ten, hundred, or thousand to approximate reasonable results in problem situations

4.6 B) use patterns to multiply by 10 and 100


ELL strategies little one,” answered Bob. “Oh I feel like I’ve already had one after talking to you, but some day I’ll make it to that bridge, and I hope that you will be there, too,” yawned Lucy. “Maybe,” said Bob as Lucy drifted off to sleep with dreams of millions of different bats flying in her head.

  • Explain the terms bat, colony, roost

  • Explain what the 2 means in 102.


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