Frog Life Cycle
Duration: 30 – 40 minutes
Vocabulary: metamorphosis, egg, tadpole, frog, amphibian
Summary: Students will learn about the amphibian life cycle, specifically that of frogs. They will learn about the changes frogs go through and why they are important species.
Objectives: Students will understand the process of metamorphosis, and why amphibians are important and threatened species.
- Green, blue, and brown construction paper
- Bubble wrap (optional)
- Black permanent marker
- Printed templates found in Handouts section (optional)
Amphibians are a very important type of animal that spends the juvenile part of its life living underwater as a “water-breathing” animal, and the adult part of its life living out of the water as an “air-breathing” animal. Amphibians are VERY important animals to us because they are something called “ecological indicators.” This means that they are very sensitive to changes in the environment, and thus you can look to amphibians to see how healthy an ecosystem is. For example, if you see a pond with no amphibians in it, it could mean that the pond is not a healthy place to live. Likewise, if you notice a lot of amphibians in an area dying, it could mean there is a big problem that will affect other animals/humans soon.
Recently there has been a dramatic decline in the amount of amphibians all over the world. Because of this, many species are now threatened, endangered, or extinct. It is very important we do everything we can to keep our environments healthy so that amphibians can stay healthy and happy.
Ask students if they have seen an ‘amphibian’ before. Have them name the different kinds—frogs, toads, and salamanders are the most common types.
Explain the process of metamorphosis using the pictures in the handout section. Show that the frog changes from an egg in the water, to a tadpole living in the water, to a frog living on the land!
First, have children act out the process of metamorphosis a frog goes through. Have them start curled up in a ball as eggs. Then have them hatch and give themselves a tail by holding their arms behind them. Have them wiggle their bodies the way a tadpole would to move around. Then have them grow hind legs by placing them out wide on either side of them. Finally, have them grow front limbs and lose their tail. Have them hop around the way frogs do and make ribbiting sounds.
Next, have children complete the paper craft that is found in the handouts section. They can either color and cut out the shapes there, or draw and cut out their own eggs, tadpoles, frogs, and arrows. Optional: cut out small amounts of bubble wrap to use as eggs. Draw a small black dot with a permanent marker to represent the embryo inside the egg.
Help students put arrows in the correct place. Explain that life is a cycle—eggs hatch to become tadpoles, which become frogs, which lay more eggs, which become tadpoles, etc….
Finally, explain to students why frogs and other amphibians are so important to the environment. Explain that we can use them to tell if an environment is healthy or not.
Ask students to explain the word ‘metamorphosis.’
Ask students to describe the different changes a frog goes through in its life.
Ask students if they know of any other animals that go through metamorphosis like amphibians do – butterflies and bees both do!
Ask students what it might mean if they saw a pond with no amphibians in it.
Have children compare the way humans, amphibians, and plants all grow. How are they similar or different?
Have students compare the way frogs grow to salamanders, another amphibian.
Pictures/Handouts (click to go)