A cacophony of frogs and toads call out as they emerge from the mud in early spring and start looking for mates. Reproduction is essential to the continued existence of every kind of organism and the calls are an effort to continue the unique life cycle of frogs and toads.
Possible Guiding, Compelling and/or Anchoring Questions
- What is making that noise?
- Do frogs and toads always make that noise?
- Why do they make the noise in the spring?
- Upon first listen, students might be unsure as to what animal is being heard--students may think insects, not know what noise frogs and toads make or whether the sounds are frogs or toads. Once the animal(s) are identified, students will hopefully move towards an investigation of why frogs and toads call in the spring and how that relates to reproduction, birth, growth and death.
- Use the Michigan DNR site, linked below to explore the types of frogs and sounds that they make.
- A field trip to investigate temporarily captured eggs and possibly frogs or tadpoles. Some pet stores sell tadpoles which could be kept in the classroom to see the change to a frog. If a tadpole from a natural environment is kept in the classroom, be sure it is returned to the same location.
- You can create a frog chorus at home! You need four people. The first person, in a slow deep voice, says, "potatoes, potatoes." That person is the voice of the bullfrog. Next, in a creaky voice someone repeats the phrase, "fried bacon." That's the voice of the leopard frog. The spring peepers have a high, fast call, so the next person should say, "tomatoes, tomatoes" over and over quickly in a high pitched voice. Finally the green frog joins the chorus. Jim Pease says that green frogs have no rhythm and sound like a broken banjo string. At random moments the fourth person should call out, "squash." All the sounds together will sound a little like a chorus of frogs in nature. Have fun! (Talk of Iowa--IPR)
- Iowa DNR: Contains data for different animal populations in Iowa by season and year.
- Michigan DNR: Frogs and Toads: Contains information on species as well as sound recordings
- PBS LearningMedia: Various activities and suggestions for teaching life cycles.
- Iowa PBS: Frog Call Monitoring: Volunteers around Iowa are collecting frog call data from a variety of species.
- Amphibians and Reptiles of Iowa: Frogs and Toads: Frog and toad species living in the state.
- Amphibians and Reptiles of Iowa: Details with pictures and sound files of many of Iowa’s amphibians and reptiles.
- Talk of Iowa--Iowa Public Radio Spring Chorus: Iowa’s Frogs and Toads: Audio program which identifies singers in Iowa’s “spring chorus.” Also explains why frogs and toads make so much noise and how to identify the calls of different species.
Iowa Core Alignment
Submitted by Jennifer Bliss