Life Cycle of a Frog: Lesson Plan for Elementary Students
How are you similar to a frog?
Frogs are fascinating creatures for young children. They make excellent specimens for the live study of life cycles or metamorphosis as the young are quite easy to raise to adulthood. How many young boys (and girls too) have revelled in the adventure of frogging at a nearby pond or water body. I am sure there are far less who have had this experience compared to the older generation. Your classroom habitat will give them a taste of that adventure! As well, many students will again encounter these creatures in the high school laboratory, as the subjects of virtual or "live" dissection! With careful preparation and stringent safety protocols including keeping students' fingers out of the frog habitat, the addition of live tadpoles growing to maturity brings additional joy and further opportunity to stretch the inquiry and research skills of young minds.
Life Cycle of a Frog Lesson Plan
Title: LIFE CYCLE OF A FROG
Overview: Students will be introduced to the life cycle stages of a frog by setting up a frog habitat with tadpoles collected from a local pond and by completing daily observations of this habitat. A National Geographic video and reading comprehension exercises will further reinforce students’ knowledge.
Subjects: Science, Language
Grade Level: Grade 4/5
- Monitoring of the Tadpole habitat will cover several weeks including one 40 minute science block to set up habitats and 5-10minutes daily for several weeks until all tadpoles are frogs.
- Five 40 minute science blocks; two or three 40 minute language blocks
- Aquarium or fish bowl
- Tadpoles (preferably from a local pond so they can be released to original habitat safely)
- Food source for tadpoles (goldfish food will suffice)
- Students will name in order, the stages of a frog’s life cycle.
- Students will describe a frog’s habitat, predators and prey.
- Students will set-up and maintain an aquarium for tadpoles.
- Students will raise frogs from tadpoles.
- Students will document daily observations of their tadpole including weekly photographs.
Order of Activities:
- Brainstorm with the class what they know about frog lifecycles and questions that they would like answered about frog life cycles.
- Watch the National Geographic video about, “Red Eyed Tree Frog's Life Cycle”. They fill out a chart while the video is in progress. When the video is finished, video may be replayed and/or students may ask questions to make sure chart is complete. (1 and 2 completed in same period of time)
- Have students independently read the ‘Frogs and Toads” reading comprehension activity and fill in the accompanying chart.
- Using #3 from the On-line Resources above ,complete the Frog Lifecycle Diagram. Complete the ‘Frog Life cycle Crossword Puzzle’.
- In-class time for working on chosen culminating activity. (three blocks of time)
- Frog Lifecycle Test. Students who finish early work on Frog Life cycle Word search.
Activities to be Evaluated:
- Completion of reading comprehension activity and Toad, Frog Comparison chart.
- Labelling of a frog life cycle chart.
- Completion of Weekly Tadpole Habitat Log.
- Frog Life cycle Test
- Culminating Activity: Students will create a booklet, brochure, model, power point, diorama or other approved process describing the life cycle of a frog using their Habitat Log and on-line resources.
Creating the Tadpole Habitat
Follow the instructions in the website, How to Raise Tadpoles, for creating a safe, exciting tadpole habitat which will allow your students to watch the metamorphosis of frogs unfold before their eyes. A few things to consider:
- Make sure you post safety rules regarding etiquette around the habitat. Aquatic environments with living creatures pose the threat of salmonella. Hands should never be exposed to the water in the habitat. As well, living creatures can be harmed by oils, creams etc on hands and could lead to death of your tadpoles.
- Use local tadpoles if possible from a nearby pond as extensive environmental damage can occur to an ecosystem if introduced species (a frog species in this case not native to your area) are released into an area.
- Check with your local and state regulations regarding the capture of tadpoles and the release of adult frogs.
Your students will be eager to safeguard their charges and will, therefore, be likely to abide by the rules set out for them.
Chart for Recording Tadpole Habitat Observations
Brainstorming Chart for Activity 1 of Frog Life Cycles
What I know about Frog Life Cycles
Questions I have about Frog Life Cycles
Video Link for the National Geographic Video for Activity 2
Watch the video, Red-Eyed Tree Frog's Life Cycle
Chart for filling-in Life Cycle Of Frog Details from National Geographic Video for Activity 2
Where Eggs are layed
Stage 1 of life cycle
Stage 2 of life cycle
Final stage of life cycle
Reading Comprehension Sheet Comparing Frogs and Toads for Activity 3
FROGS AND TOADS
Frogs and toads both belong to the group of animals known as amphibians. Because they are amphibians, they both have thin skin that loses moisture easily. They are both cold-blooded. They have a similar life cycle and look similar. So, although they do have some similarities, they are different animals.
Both frogs and toads begin their life in water. Both animals lay their eggs in water. Frogs lay their eggs in clumps, however, while toads lay theirs in long strings usually on vegetation. Otherwise, they go through similar life cycle stages. Both animals spend their adult life on land. Frogs need to live close to water while toads can survive away from water as adults. Both frogs and toads use lungs and their skin for taking in oxygen and getting rid of carbon dioxide. Both of these animals breathe through lungs on land and breathe through their skin when under water.
There is an old saying that if you touch a toad you’ll get warts. This is a myth that came from the fact that toads have rough, dry, bumpy skin. Many people think frogs are ‘yucky’ because they have slimy, moist, slippery-smooth skin. Frogs have narrow bodies that are made for jumping. They also have longer hind legs which lets them take long, high jumps. If you have ever tried to catch frog, you have seen their jumping expertise. Toads with their chunky, fat bodies are not designed for jumping. It is so much easier to catch a toad because of their shorter, less powerful hind legs. Toads will run or take small hops. This makes them much easier to catch. Frogs have higher, rounder eyes that bulge. Their eyes are made for noticing movement of their food source of fast moving insects and also for noticing the many animals, like herons, that prey on them. Toads have lower football-shaped eyes. Because they do not have powerful hopping legs, they need to have another protection from predators. Their protection is in their skin which lets out a bitter taste and smell. The eyes and nostrils of its predators burn from this ‘poison’; therefore, they tend to leave toads alone.
Comparison Chart for Activity 3 Comparing Frogs and Toads
Group to which they belong
Habitat as Adults
How they Move
Where eggs are Layed
How eggs are Layed
Protection from Predators
If you were a frog which stage do you think would be the most fun to be in?
Link for the Frog Life Cycle Diagram
Have students using #3 from the On-line Resources, fill-in details about each stage of metamorphosis on the Frog Life Cycle diagram.
Frog Life Cycle Diagram, Word Fun Worksheets for Activities 4-6Click thumbnail to view full-size
Test Your Knowledge of the Frog Life Cycle
© 2012 Teresa Coppens