This activity familiarizes students with the dramatic changes to its body that occur in the life cycle of a frog as it moves from being an aquatic tadpole to a semiterrestrial adult. You can also download this activity (pdf, 206kb) along with other information and activities about frogs.

What You Need

  • Frog life cycle pieces and Drawings of frog life cycle (pdf, 88kb). Note that the frog life cycle shown is a generalized one. Some frogs, such as tree frogs, do not go through all of the phases shown in the diagram or develop in a different manner.
  • Tape, scissors
  • Books on the frog life cycle (optional)
    • Animal Lives: The Frog by Sally Tagholm
    • Tale of a Tadpole by Barbara Ann Porte
    • Frog by Angela Royston
    • Frogs by Gail Gibbons
    • Frogs and Toads by Steve Parker
    • Climbing Tree Frogs by Ruth Berman and John Netherton
    • Amazing Frogs and Toads by Barry Clarke and Jerry Young

What to Do

  1. Read students one of the books listed above or ask students to read selections about frogs.
  2. Ask students how frogs are born and how they grow. What does a frog look like when it is born? What does an adult frog look like? What happens in between?
  3. Pass out copies of the puzzle/drawing pages.
    • Ask students to cut out each of the circle drawings.
    • Follow the arrows around the ring. Read each stage in the frog life cycle.
    • Choose the drawing to place on each stage of the life cycle.
    • When each drawing has been placed on the correct description, pass out the
      tape. Ask students to tape the top of each drawing over the appropriate circle so they can flip up the drawing and read the description.

Discussion

  • What do you notice about the life cycle of a frog?
  • Describe the kind of environment a frog egg needs to grow into a tadpole.
  • What type of environment does a tadpole need?
  • What about a frog?
  • What are important changes from one stage to the next?
  • How is water important to the life cycle of a frog?
  • What do you think are threats to frog eggs? Tad poles? Adult frogs?
  • How do the threats to eggs and tadpoles relate to the large number of eggs laid by a female frog?
  • How do frogs compare to mammals in the number of young they produce?
  • What could be some of the reasons why mammals produce fewer offspring?
  • Some scientists have data that show the number of frogs is declining worldwide. Can
    you think of any reasons why this might be happening?

Vocabulary

spawn: n. the mass of eggs deposited by fishes, amphibians, mollusks, crustaceans, etc. v.i. to deposit eggs or sperm directly into the water, as fishes.

metamorphosis: n. a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism.

Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, © 1966 by Random House Value Publishing, Inc.

More Lifecycle Activities

Tapioca frog spawn

To give your students an idea of what frog eggs look like, make a bowl of tapioca pudding using large pearl tapioca from the market. The good thing about this activity is that when the demonstration is over, it makes a healthy dessert!

Literacy

  • Ask students to write about their life as a frog (from egg to adult) or to write about one stage in the cycle.
  • Suggest that students make the biodiversity connection by including the risks that frogs face at each stage of development and by identifying plants and animals they see or interact with at different stages.
  • Use the Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel to explore the interplay of science and imagination.

Arts and Crafts

  • Turn the life cycle pictures here (or those drawn by students) into a mobile.
  • Make a flip book using student drawings of the frog life cycle.