Echolocation Lab

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In this lab, learners experience how dolphins and other echolocating animals use their senses to locate and identify objects without using their sense of sight. To simulate this process, learners work in pairs (one blindfolded and one using a water gun), shoot at targets, listen to the sound of the water hitting the target, and attempt to guess the target's shape and material. Learners also analyze how distance affects echolocation and how tuna nets impact dolphins' ability to echolocate.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Blindfold
  • Super Soaker 100
  • Plastic triangle target
  • Plastic circle target
  • Plastic square target
  • Metal triangle target
  • Metal circle target
  • Metal square target
  • Wooden triangle target
  • Wooden circle target
  • Wooden square target
  • Fish net target
  • Paper towels


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Hearing
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
    • Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • hear
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Mills, Donald