Children are excited to begin our 🐸 Frog Unit Study.
Frogs are amphibians (meaning "two-lives"). Toads, newts, salamanders and caecilians (blind worms) are also members of the amphibian group. "Two-lives" means that frogs begin their lives in the water as eggs and then tadpoles, and when they are fully developed, they live on land. Frogs are cold-blooded, which means that their bodies are the same temperature as the air or water around them. When they are cold, they will lay in the sun to warm up; and when they get too warm, they will go into the water to cool their bodies off.
Frogs have many predators like birds, fish and reptiles. Most rainforest frogs have pads of sticky hairs on their fingers and toes, as well as loose sticky skin on their bellies, which make them great climbers to escape their predators. Many of these frogs live in high trees for safety. Other frogs are very good at camouflaging themselves so that they blend in with their environment, making it harder for their enemies to find them. A frog can change the color of its skin depending on its surroundings.
Scientists have found frogs fossils which date back to the Jurassic period over 140 million years ago. Frogs are found all over the world and in every climate, except Antarctica. They can be found near any and every body of fresh water, but prefer ponds, lakes, and marshes, where the water does not move very fast. Frogs cannot live in the sea or any salt water.
Frog’s tongue is attached to the front of the mouths rather than to the back, like humans. When a frog catches an insect, it throws its sticky tongue out of its mouth and wraps it around its prey. The frog’s tongue then snaps back and throws the food down its throat.
Frogs and toads are carnivores, which means that they eat meat. Small to medium sized frogs eat insects such as flies, mosquitoes, moths and dragonflies. Larger frogs eat larger insects like grasshoppers and worms. Some large frogs will even eat small snakes, mice, baby turtles, and even other smaller frogs! Most frogs will starve before they eat a dead insect or animal.
Fun facts about frogs:
- Frogs have very good eyesight. They bulge out the sides of their heads in order to see in nearly all directions.
- Frogs also have an amazing sense of hearing. You can often tell the difference between a male and a female frog by the size of their eardrum, which can be seen behind their eyes. If the eardrum is smaller than the eye, the frog is a female. On males their eardrum is the same size as the eye.
- Frogs have very powerful back legs and webbed feet that help them jump great distances, as well as swim. Frogs even use their legs to dig or burrow underground to prepare for hibernation. Certain frogs can jump up to 20 times their own body length in a single leap.
Children really enjoyed this Five Layer "Frog" Puzzle (buy here), which can be assembled side-by-side to represent the life-cycle of the frog, or alternatively, layered in tiers on top of each other. This puzzle is developed in Germany, and the pictures are bright and colorful, helping a child to train the cognition of context and the ability to associate and combine. Each puzzle set is number-coded on the back.
Depending on the species, female frog may lay hundreds or even thousands of eggs in ponds or lakes. The eggs are covered by an awfully tasting jelly-like substance, which protects the eggs from fish that might want to eat them.
Tadpoles hatch from eggs about 21 days after the eggs have been laid. As the tadpole develops, it forms gills for breathing, and a fish-like finned tail that helps it swim.
After about nine weeks, the tadpole's hind legs appear, the front legs develop, and the tail begins to shorten and eventually disappears.
Approximately 12 weeks after the egg was laid, a fully developed frog is able to leave the water and venture onto land.
Stay tuned for more 🐸 frog unit studies.