All living things grow and change in their lifetime. Some animals, people included, start life looking the same as or very similar to adults. Other animals look very different from the adults when they are young and change significantly over the course of their lifetime. Frogs and butterflies are examples of animals that change, or go through metamorphosis during their life.
To help illustrate how animals can change over time, have children and educators bring in a picture of themselves as a baby and as they look now. Also, gather pictures of baby and adult animals – include animals that have young that look similar to adults, and animals that have young that look different than the adults.
Lay the pictures of people out on a table and as a class guess which baby pictures go with each person. Ask: In what way do babies and adults look different? The same? Was it hard to match baby pictures to children/adults? Why or why not? How do our bodies change as we grow?
Share the animal and baby pictures of familiar animals that do not change much over their lifetime such as dogs and cats. Match up the babies with the adults. Ask: Has anyone watched a pet grow from a baby into an adult? How do these animals change as they grow?
Now share the pictures of animals that change significantly from baby to adult. Try to match up the baby pictures with the adult pictures. Ask: Was it harder or easier to match these animals? Why or why not? How do these animals change as they grow?
Use Growing Up WILD’s “Grow As We Go” to explore the life cycle of frogs. Use the life cycle cards (PDF) in the back of the book or share photographs of the frog life cycle from books or the internet. Discuss frogs as a class: Ask children if they have ever seen a frog? A tadpole? How does a tadpole change to become a frog? Explore these questions as a class. If possible obtain tadpoles in the spring and observe them as they grow and change (be sure to follow your state and local regulations on possession of wildlife).
- Frog Life Cycle
- Frogs Are Amphibians
- Amphibians and Reptiles of Iowa (contains pictures, information and distribution of frogs and toads in Iowa)
- Facebook Live video about the resident amphibians at the Jester Park Nature Center, Polk County, Iowa
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