Activity title: Frog-tastic Topic: Life Science
1. Lingelbach, Jenepher. Hands-On Nature. Vermont Institute of Science. Woodstock, Vt. 1986, 2000. P. 58-63.
2. Harding, Jim and J. Alan Holman. 1992. Michigan Frogs, Toads and Salamanders. Michigan State University Extension.
After this presentation, students will be able to:
Part I: Frog Ecology & Behavior Games
Frog metamorphosis poster
Laminated poster of Michigan Frogs & Toads
Frog pictures (matching game)
Frog shakers (film canisters)
Frog calling materials (rocks, balloons, combs, jingling bells, rubber band/cups)
Laminated poster of EPA’s Eat or Be Eaten at the Wetland Café
Part II - Pond sampling equipment
Plastic gallon milk jugs
Ice cube trays
Small green aquarium nets
Pond ID sheet
Large nets (optional)
5 min- INTRODUCTION: Spring is a time of “firsts.” It is a time of birth and change….
Let’s list some “firsts” in spring:
Firsts” are determined by: air temp, water temp, and day length (amount of sun)
There are 11 species (or different kinds) of frogs in UP (13 statewide in Michigan) – show poster of Michigan Frogs & Toads.
Why do frogs call? (why do birds sing?)
· To attract a mate
· Warn away other males from their breeding site
· Warn of danger
ACTIVITY#2: Frog mating game – by sound. (10 min)
Using film canisters (each pair of film canisters is filled with a variety of materials, such as paper clips, sand, pebbles, beans, etc.), students must find their partner who has a cannister with the same sound. Q: Do all frog species sound the same? No! How do breeding frogs find a mate? By sound.
Assign groups of 3-4 students to be the various species of frogs. Teach them their “call” using the props provided (rocks, balloons, etc.). See the Frog Calling Calendar & Frog Call of the UP. Arrange students in a circle. You will be the “conductor” telling each species when to begin and end their calling. Q: What do you observe about the calling of frogs---do they all call at once in the spring? No! Do they all call for the same period of time? No, wood frogs call for the shortest period and spring peepers call for the longest period.
· Egg (hatch in few days or weeks, depending upon temperature & species)
· Tadpole (for weeks, months or entire year)
· BIG CHANGE = Metamorphosis
· Adult frog
Merry Metamorphosis Activity
Metamorphosis is the change that takes place inside and outside of an animal or insect. These changes happen for one important reason––to prepare it for a change in where and how it lives. Metamorphosis = double life. Metamorphosis allows larvae and adults to live in different places and eat different things, so that they don’t compete with each other for living space, shelter, or food. Compare to human children & adults. Do we go through metamorphosis? No! Chemicals (hormones) in body trigger metamorphosis.
ACTIVITY #5: Frog or Tadpole? (10 min)
Divide students into two groups: tadpoles and frogs. Each group has to raise their hands first when a card showing a characteristic (see lists below) of their stage is held up by the instructor.
1. Swim like fish using tail to move through water; no legs.
2. Have gills to breathe oxygen in water
3. Fish-like mouth opening
4. Feed on algae and plant life
1. Mouth changes from fish-like opening to mouth with tongue
2. Have lungs that breathe oxygen out of air
3. Digestive systems changes to eat insects and small animals
4. Tail is absorbed (used for energy, while mouth is sealed shut as it metamorphoses)
5. First hind legs then front legs appear that allow them to move on land by hopping or leaping---no longer restricted to only living in water.
Neither group: furry, wings, 8 legs, breathes fire, etc.
ACTIVITY #6: Play Moving Meals (just like Red Light, Green Light!) (5 min)
Assign two students to be frogs and position them at one end of the pond. The other students are mosquitoes and other insects that have to fly across the pond without getting eaten by the adult frogs. Students love the running and excitement of this game.
· Provide food for other animals!! Many frog eggs, tadpoles, froglets and frogs become food for other animals (Birds, snakes, herons, other frogs, aquatic insects, etc.).
· EAT insects – 4800 per year!
Part II – Pond sampling (45-60 minutes)
Let’s find out what lives in this pond with the frogs. Do any of these other organisms go through metamorphosis like frogs? Who eats whom? Review pond sampling rules.
ACTIVITY #1: Put students into groups of three. Hand out Food Chain cards. Ask students to arrange themselves into: plant --- herbivore/plant-eater --- carnivore/meat-eater
ACTIVITY #2: Hand out metamorphosis cards. Ask students to find their partners:
larval or young stage --- adult
ACTIVITY #3: Organize into groups with one adult per group. Distribute equipment amongst groups. Demonstrate how to properly collect aquatic organisms. Tell student that each must draw one organism that they find on the form on the clipboard, then give clipboard and pencil to next child.
ACTIVITY #4: If there is time, have students bring one organism that they collected in a small
plastic container. Have them arrange them into a food chain:
plant (draw!) --- herbivore --- carnivore
Frog Race Against Time – spring peepers hatch in 3 days and tadpoles become frogs in 6-8 weeks in a race against time---- their vernal pond may dry up! Benefit of breeding in a vernal pond – no fish or other large predators and warmer water. While green and bullfrogs can take 2-3 years to mature from tadpole to adult to frog, so require permanent water found in lakes and large ponds.
Why is it important to protect frog habitat (= shelter, water, food, space)? So we can protect frogs.
Summary: (see objectives)
1. This pond is home to lots of animals.
Treat the pond the way you’d want a stranger to treat your special place. Don’t walk in it! It makes the water all murky— hard for us to see critters and hard for them to see their food.
2. This pond is a nursery for young animals.
Be careful with the animals that you collect so you don’t injure them.
• Don’t handle them with your hands.
• Put all animals back in the water when you are through.
3. These animals need water.
All collected animals must be placed in a container with water ASAP.
4. Be careful of equipment.
Rinse all nets and containers when you’re through. Anyone not being safe and careful with equipment will lose it.
1. Make a Frog Food Chain mobile - use animal pictures, construction paper, markers, glue, and yarn.
2. Each student makes their own ‘Habitat for a Frog’ using clay, stickers, styrofoam meat trays or paper plates, Q-tips, markers, blue paper, glue, etc. to create food, space, water, and shelter.
3. Distribute and color the EPA’s Eat or Be Eaten at the Wetland Café poster. Laminate and use as placemats.
Name ______________________ Date __________ Location ___________
What I Found in the Pond!
What I think it is