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Elementary Science Topics



Recommended Resource

Amphibians Unit Study

by Beverly S. Krueger

Nature studies provide an excellent opportunity to do hands-on science. You don’t need to live in the country or near a nature preserve to do some exciting activities with your children. Raising tadpoles is an example that can be accomplished with a kit if you cannot collect tadpoles from a nearby pond. Your local pet store or zoo is a great place to visit animals without the need to keep a live supply of crickets on hand for your salamander. Of course, especially if you have boys, raising crickets in addition to a salamander or lizard would make you a way cool mom.

The topic of amphibians is especially replete with interesting things to do whether you want to do it hands-on or not. You can dissect a frog virtually or in real life. You can study metamorphosis by reading a book and watching videos or by raising tadpoles yourself. Discover a salamander’s habitat by reading The Salamander Room or visiting the zoo to see the habitat they create for a salamander. The resources we have provided with this unit will allow you to explore amphibians at your own pace and as hands-on or not as you choose.

General Websites

Wikipedia Amphibians

Amphibians – National Geographic
Videos, pictures, information on a number of different kinds of amphibians.

Straight forward text information on amphibians.

Global Amphibian Assessment
This site gives information on data collection about amphibians worldwide with a goal to preserving from extinction  the 5,918 known species of amphibians.

Introduction to the Amphibia
Introductory material on the following topics: fossil record, life history & ecology, systematics, and more on morphology.

National Zoo Reptiles and Amphibians
You have to keep your reptiles and amphibians straight here since the resources are mixed, but interesting articles, images, and activities.

Amhibia Classification
Drill down in this classification structure to find informational pages and photos on many species of amphibians.

Amphibian Research Centre
The Amphibian Research Centre was established as a centre dedicated to research and conservation of Australia's unique frogs. They provide expertise in all areas of frog knowledge including captive breeding and research and education.

Leuckarts Wandtafeln
Ampibian wallcharts
Vertebrata: Amphibia - Anura, Urodela
Vertebrata: Amphibia - Batrachia
Vertebrata: Amphibia - Urogenitalapparat
Vertebrata: Amphibia - Neurosystem
Vertebrata: Amphibia - Anura
Vertebrata: Amphibia - Rana pipiens


2008 Year of the Frog
Information on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Year of the Frog. Sign up to be a friend of the frogs.

Frogs: A Chorus of Colors
Beautiful and informative website created from the American Museium of Natural History’s exhibit, now closed, of the same name. Includes articles, pictures, and sound files.

Frogland! All About Frogs
Information and other not so educational stuff about frogs including info on taking care of a pet frog.

Frogs – Exploratorium
Frog articles, interactive exhibits and hands-on activities.

Illustrated Field Guide to Great Lakes Frogs
Eastern American toad, bullfrog, peeper frogs, and seven other frogs listed with pictures, calls, description, and habitat information.

The somewhat amusing world of frogs

Tadpoles of the United States and Canada: A Tutorial and Key
Pictures and descriptions of tadpoles.


Wikipedia Salamandar

Amphibians: Salamander & Newt
Get fun and interesting salamander and newt facts in an easy-to-read style from the San Diego Zoo's Animal Bytes.

Tiger Salamander Hunting Crickets – video

Hellbender Home Page
Hellbenders are one of the largest salamanders in the world, growing to over 2 feet long.

Dichotomous Key to Salamanders
This MS Word document is an activity that uses a key to identify pictures of various salamanders by their features.


Insects Metamorphosis - A remarkable change
Explanation of the various forms of insect metamorphosis with images.

Development of Tadpoles from Eggs – Pictures

Keeping Tadpoles: A Guide for Pond Dwelling Species
The tadpole tank has become popular culture in the schoolroom yet the sorts of brief descriptions of tadpole rearing in publications available to most schools leave a lot to be desired. In the interests of proper treatment of tadpoles we have written this very brief instruction. It is intended to give an idea of the practicalities of tadpole raising.

Green Tree Frogs
Images and videos of green tree frogs mating and tadpoles growing and changing. Upclose pictures show changes in detail while videos show tadpoles in a tank. Almost as good as raising them yourself.

Lesson Plans

Frogs and Toads
E-lesson on learning the differences between frogs and toads.

Frogs: Facts and Folklore
Students will understand the following: The importance of frogs in their local ecosystem. Why a frog is uniquely suited to its habitat.

Costa Rica: Why So Many Frogs?
Explore the different stages in the growth of a frog, explain why organisms produce large numbers of young and determine the survival rate of a population of tadpoles under controlled conditions.

The Deadly Frogs of Manu
Identify dangerous frogs from the Amazon, determine what makes the frogs dangerous to humans and create posters depicting the frogs.

Amphibian Alert!
This  downloadable curriculum aims to teach children what amphibians are and why amphibian population declines are important to scientists and communities throughout the world. Offers a wide variety of activities including math problems, gamesm and a power point presentation. Grades 2-5.

An integrated lesson comparing the butterfly and frog life cycles
Students will build on their prior knowledge about the butterfly life cycle to compare and contrast the life cycles of butterflies and frogs. Students will locate butterflies on the school grounds and create pictographs and models of fractions to explain their findings mathematically. Students will also use a variety of resources to read about and study the food, space and air needed by butterflies and frogs to grow. They will create visual and written products to demonstrate their findings. Grade 2

Frog Metamorphosis
Students will observe an animation of frog metamorphosis and describe this process. They will use camouflaged patterns to learn how tadpoles have to be camouflaged with their surroundings in order to survive. Students will write a story about what it would be like for them to grow up from a tadpole to a frog. Grades 3-5.

Leaping Into Frogs
Students observe and examine frogs and learn about how frogs fit into the ecosystem. They monitor and maintain a journal of the growth process of frogs from egg to adult. Students make a food chain of a frog habitat and illustrate the life cycle of a frog. Grades 2-3. PDF

It’s Not Easy Being Green
An Amphibian Curriculum - Learn about these unique animals using an integrated curriculum that incorporates field work, lab work, language arts and Alaska Native culture.
Download at

There’s No Place Like Home?
In this lesson, students learn how conservationists have collected endangered frogs from a Central American rainforest in an attempt to save different species from extinction by the lethal chytrid fungus. They then take part in a “fishbowl” discussion on the various aspects of “in situ” versus “ex situ” conservation.

Games and Activities

Frogs of Boracéia
Listen to frog calls.

Digital Frog
Software that simulates a frog dissection. This is the homeschool page with additional resources. You must purchase these resources.

Interactive Frog Dissection
Two versions available. Determine which is best for your browser and computer set up. Site also includes additional activities for follow up after you’ve done the dissection.

Virtual Frog Dissection Kit
Another online virtual frog dissection. This page also links to a virtual frog builder game.

A Guide to Building a Pond to Attract Frogs
All the steps for building your own pond to attract frogs and toads.

Frogs and Toads in Color and Sound
Twelve photographs are featured in this photo-album, along with RealAudio sound recordings of each species' calls.

Frog Quizzes
Interactive quiz that requires knowledge as well as a quick finger.

Frog Watch USA
Frogwatch USA is a frog and toad monitoring program that gives YOU the opportunity to help scientists conserve amphibians! With as little as 20 minutes a week you can collect essential information to protect frogs and toads.

Graphing Toad/Frog Respiration
This is an activity which uses frogs or toads to demonstrate scientific method, by measuring the respiration rate, as well as the other external features of the live specimen. The kids enjoy working with the Arizona Toads.

Frogs as Pets
A guide to the pros and cons of frogs as pets, and some considerations for beginning owners.

Frogs and Ponds - How to Share your Garden and Pond with Frogs
Keeping frogs captive outdoors is not really an option, but if you build a frog-friendly pond, the frogs will likely come.

Building a Salamander Terrarium

BSA Merit Badge Worksheet: Reptiles and Amphibians


Origami Frog
Make this jumping origami frog.

DLTK Frog Crafts
Crafts on a frog theme and some coloring page and other printables.


Amphibian Print Outs – Enchanted Learning
A variety of life cycle handouts as well as handouts on specific types of amphibians. Some printables require the you become a site member. $20 per year.

Frogs and Toads: Preschool Printable Lesson Plan Activities

Activity Kits

Grow a FrogGrow a Frog
American Science & Surplus
Product Description:
Mail Order Frogs! We're talking a major improvement on bills, catalogs, and credit card offers on the porch floor. We're talking an actual transparent tadpole in the mailbox, ready to grow up in your home, like a puppy but without the chewed furniture. We'll send you the kit, with a 4-1/2" square x 3-1/2" tall acrylic box with a vented lid, spoon, 2-oz bag of food, 1-1/2-oz bag of sand, 48pp instruction booklet, and a little plastic plant for verisimilitude. You mail the enclosed postcard and the Grow-A-Frog people send you a gen-yoo-ine, actual live tadpole or froglet (depending upon the season) with see-through skin so you can watch its little inner organs grow. Much better than television.

Animal Planet Frog HabitatAnimal Planet Frog Habitat
by Uncle Milton
This specially-designed frog habitat gives you a close-up view. The 15 1/2" x 8 1/4" living space includes a pool and a cozy cave. The informative instruction manual features care instructions and frog facts. Tadpole order form included. There is a nominal fee for shipment of tadpoles.

Dissection Resources and Other Amphibian Science Resources
Tobin’s Lab

Reading Suggestions

by Gail Gibbons
An introduction to frogs, discussing their tadpole beginnings, noises they make, their hibernation, body parts, and how they differ from toads.

Frog and Toad TogetherFrog and Toad Together
by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad are always together. Here are five wonderful stories about flowers, cookies, bravery, dreams, and, most of all, friendship.

Progeny Press Study Guide

The Salamander RoomThe Salamander Room by Anne Mazer
A boy finds a salamander in the woods and imagines the many things he can do to turn his room into a perfect salamander home. Together, Anne Mazer and Steve Johnson have created a woodland paradise that any salamander would love to share with a child.
Ready, Set, Hop!Ready, Set, Hop!
by Stuart J. Murphy
Frog friends, Matty and Moe, are off with a "Ready, Set, Hop!" They both made it to the rock, but who's in the lead? If Matty hopped 5 hops and Moe hopped 2 more hops than Matty, then the score is 5 to 7. But then they're off again. Any child who can add or subtract can build a simple equation, and Matty and Moe make it fun. As readers count along with Stuart J. Murphy and Jon Buller they will sharpen their problem solving skills and find out which frog is the better hopper.

Salamanders in Mythology

Salamander Myth
Short explanation of the salamander in myth.

Wikipedia – Salamander legendary creature
Longer explanation of the salamander in myth and literature with a section on the use of the salamander in heraldry.

Renaissance Zoography
The Salamander’s Flame: Debunking the Myth of the Fireproof Lizard

How to Draw a Salamander with Flames

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