What our Amphibians lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Amphibians explores the different kinds of these special creatures and their characteristics. Students will be able to identify and list the traits that group these animals together. They will discover what makes frogs and toads unique when compared to other groups of animals. This lesson provides some basic and general knowledge about amphibians. Students can research more about them using both online and physical resources. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade and 4th grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. This lesson will require scissors, colored pencils, glue or tape, and construction paper.
Options for Lesson
You will also find a number of suggestions in the “Options for Lesson” that you can incorporate into the lesson if you so choose. One suggestion is to assign students a specific species to research and present to the class. Then you can make a booklet using all the students’ presentations. Another idea is to bring in a live amphibian to the class to observe up close. You could also gather images of different amphibians and have students guess if each image is of a frog, toad, newt, or salamander. A final idea is to have students write a story about one of these animals and use terms from the content pages.
The paragraph on the teacher notes page provides some extra guidance or ideas for the lesson. In this case, it suggests teaching this lesson in conjunction with others that relate to animal classification or animals in general. You can use the blank lines to write down any other ideas or thoughts you have as you prepare to give the lesson.
AMPHIBIANS LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
This lesson contains three pages of content. The first page explores animals in general. It reminds students how all animals have certain traits in common. For instance, they all need food and energy to survive, they all move, and they all grow. However, animals differ in a lot of ways. To keep track, scientists classify them into smaller and smaller groups based on their these traits. The main groups are called classes. These include mammals, reptiles, fish, and birds. Each group includes animals that have certain traits, like being warm-blooded, invertebrates, or living in water.
Students will discover that one trait that makes amphibians so unique is that they live both on land and in the water. The word “amphibian” comes from the Greek word that means double life. There are roughly 7,000 amphibian species in the world. They descended from fish and started to appear around 340 million years ago. Some have legs while others have no limbs at all.
Common Traits of Amphibians
Frogs and toads are among the most familiar amphibians. However, newts and salamanders are also a part of this special class. All the animals in the amphibian class have certain traits in common. They are all vertebrates, for instance. They have a backbone just as humans do. Their backbones are part of their exoskeleton, which are the bones inside the body that give the animal shape and support.
Students will learn that the reason these creatures can live both on land and in water has to do with gills. During part of their life cycle, they have gills to help them breathe under water. Then they develop lungs and legs, which help them live on land. Amphibians are also cold-blooded, meaning that they cannot control their body temperature. Instead, it matches the environment. If the weather is warm, they are warm, too. Amphibians also hatch from soft, jelly-like eggs and then undergo the process of metamorphosis.
Frogs, Toads, and Salamanders
Students will next learn that it’s not too difficult to tell frogs and toads apart. Frogs and toads, while similar, have a few key differing traits. Frog’s legs are longer, their skin is smooth, and they tend to look wet. They live near sources of water throughout their lives. Toads, on the other hand, have dry, bumpy skin and shorter legs. This is because they walk more often than jump, unlike frogs. They also don’t need to live close to water until it’s time to reproduce or lay eggs.
The two creatures do, however, both lose their tails when they become adults. Salamanders, on the other hand, do not. Instead, they keep their tails when they become adults. In fact, these lizard-like but scaleless animals can regenerate. If they lose a limb or their tail, it will just grow back. A caecilian is another type of amphibian that never grows limbs. Caecilians look like snakes or worms and burrow through mud using a pointed nose and strong skull.
Students will learn that the sizes of these animals can vary widely. The Chinese Giant Salamander can be 6 feet long and 140 pounds! The Goliath Frog can grow up to 15 inches long and weigh 8 pounds. On the other end of the spectrum, the smallest frog is a mere third of an inch. Students will also discover that these animals can live in a wide range of habitats as well, such as forests, meadows, ponds, and swamps. They are carnivores, meaning that they eat other animals. Their diets include spiders, beetles, and worms.
Here is a list of the vocabulary words students will learn in this lesson plan:
- Classify: to separate or group things by similar traits.
- Vertebrate: an animal with a backbone.
- Exoskeleton: the bones inside the body of an amphibian that provide shape and support.
- Metamorphosis: the transformation or physical changes that occur in stages in certain animals.
- Regenerate: to grow back.
AMPHIBIANS LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Amphibians lesson plan also includes three worksheets. Each one will test students’ comprehension of the material and help them solidify their grasp of the content. You can use the guidelines on the classroom procedure page to know when to hand out each assignment.
FROG LIFE CYCLE ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
For the activity, students will cut apart the various parts of the life cycle of a frog. Using construction paper, they will glue or tape each part in order to the paper. They will also need to add text that explains the different parts and each stage metamorphosis. In addition, they will color the parts and be creative with the poster. When they finish, they should add a title at the top of the poster. If you want, students can work with partners or in small groups.
AMPHIBIANS PRACTICE WORKSHEET
There are a few sections on the practice worksheet. First, students will match definitions to the correct description. There are 12 total statements in this section. Next, students will place each of the five stages of the metamorphosis of a frog in order from 1 to 5. Finally, they will answer five questions that relate to what they learned from the content pages.
WORD SEARCH HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
For the homework assignment, students will complete a word search. There are 20 different species of toad, frog, salamander, and newt in the word bank for them to find.
Worksheet Answer Keys
At the very end of the document are three answer keys for the activity and practice worksheets and the homework assignment. The answer key for the activity provides the correct order of the five stages of metamorphosis that students’ posters should match. The practice worksheet answer key provides the correct answers in red. For the homework answer key, the words in the word search are highlighted in pink to make it easy for you to compare students’ work. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.
RELATED LESSON PLANS
Take a look at these other lesson plans that relate to amphibians or animals in general:
- Identify Animals—Students learn about the animals in the vertebrate category and what makes them similar and unique. This lesson is for students in 2nd grade and 3rd grade.
- Animal Classification—In this lesson, students learn to classify animals based on their traits. While it is for lower elementary levels, it includes some fun activities that you can incorporate into this lesson if you want.
- Vertebrates and Invertebrates—This lesson explains in depth how scientists use the taxonomic rank to classify animals into smaller and smaller groups. The lesson is for students in 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade.
There are a few lessons for lower elementary levels (1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade) about other animal classes. You may find them useful simply for comparative purposes. But you might discover ideas in these lessons for additional activities that you can do with your class as they learn about amphibians.
- Birds—This lesson explores different types of birds and teaches students how scientists group birds according to different traits.
- Types of Fish—Types of Fish introduces students to the three main groups that all fish fall into and describes the traits that the majority of fish have in common.
- Reptiles and Mammals—Our Reptiles and Mammals lesson plan teaches students about both of these animal classes. It teaches them how to identify which group a certain animal belongs in based on its traits.