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Frog/Toad Lesson Plan

Overview- Presentation to students

Frog and toad populations are in serious trouble everywhere. They are being harmed by loss of habitat, chemicals in stormwater runoff, and from hunting for food or for medical and educational use. Frogs and toads are especially vulnerable to habitat loss and pollution because they live in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats, as well as "in between" habitats like wetlands and the riparian zone along streams, which are the most heavily impacted habitats of all.

The good news is that many communities are beginning to take measures to regulate stormwater runoff. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to think of ways to simultaneously improve frog and toad habitat while reducing flooding and water pollution, which is a real win-win situation. (A good example of this can be seen in the projects that are being built in Johnson County and you can show the BMP tour as an example.)

There are six species of frogs and toads that live in and along the Kansas River. Each one has a unique and interesting way of life that we will study in these lessons.

Learning Objective

This unit consists of four parts, the first of which is preparation for the three exercises that follow:
  1. Research- information and links are provided to help students research out the biology of the six species that occur in the Kansas River corridor (on, in or along the river proper). Students should be told that they must document their sources, including images. We discourage the use of Wikipedia, which is not a scholarly scientific source, and provide links to examples of appropriate sources.               Go to Frogs and Toads page
  2. Species Descriptions- students create an e-field guide to demonstrate their knowledge of the taxonomy, biology, and habitat requirements of the frogs and toads they are studying. Go to Make A Field Guide page
  3. Habitat Mapping- students create a map of potential habitat near their schools or in their communities. This will require an understanding of the ecology of frogs and toads, as well as an assessment of what constitutes high quality habitat in need of conservation or low quality habitat in need of remediation. Go to Habitat Survey page
  4. Habitat Remediation Plan (Make A Frog Park)- students demonstrate their understanding of the ecology of wetlands, ponds and streams by creating a virtual habitat suitable for populations of frogs or toads. This can be coupled with the Stormwater Runoff exercises, Water Quality, Mapping, and Geocaching lessons found in this curriculum. You can find resources to help create an actual stormwater project that would act as frog habitat in our Stormwater Challenge. Go to Make A Frog Park page

Kansas Grade Level Expectations – Standards/Benchmarks


All of the software used in this lesson can be downloaded free of cost. You will need an internet connection to use Google Documents and Google Earth; Google SketchUp can be used offline for basic work, but you will need an internet connection to download from the 3D warehouse. There are many useful tutorials available on YouTube, however, since many schools block YouTube we provide all the directions you need on this website.

We recommend using Firefox as your browser (both Explorer and Safari will give you many error messages) Click here to download Firefox

Lessons 1 and 2: Research and Species Descriptions (Create A Field Guide)

Create Google Account click here

Go to Google Documents

You will need to be 14 and older to create a Google Account; younger students can do similar exercises offline by going to our Middle School website click for student materials, click for teacher materials. Google Documents can't be used to create presentations on iPads and tablets, so we recommend that students either use a Microsoft Office App to create their slideshows, or work on a computer.

Lesson 3: Habitat Survey

Download Google Earth click here

Google Earth for Educators Tutorials

Google Earth can be viewed but not edited on iPads and tablets, so we recommend that students use a computer for this lesson.

Lesson 4: Habitat Remediation Plan (Make A Frog Park)

Download Google SketchUp click here

Google SketchUp for Educators Tutorials

Google SketchUp is difficult to use on a laptop with a trackpad and is difficult to use on iPads and tablets. We recommend that students use a computer with a mouse when available (and best with a mouse that has a scroll wheel).


Detailed directions are provided on the Make A Field Guide, Habitat Survey, and Make A Frog Park pages. While each unit is set up to stand alone, they are designed to build on each other in order. Depending on how proficient students are with computers and whether they have experience with Google Earth and Google SketchUp, exercises will take 2-3 hours each. You may wish to assign students to teams, with each team member researching out different species and mapping different areas. The team members can combine their work into a single presentation.

These three lessons can be adapted to any species, and if you live outside of our area you can easily modify them for the species and habitats in your region.

Interpreting your results

Students should be encouraged to create "frog parks" that are within the ability of individual property owners, schools, or communities to actually create. There is funding available in many communities for stormwater Best Management Practices, and this can be used for "frog parks" in a very practical sense. We provide extensive resources for stormwater BMP's on our website, click here


Friends of the Kaw's Stormwater Website

Friends of the Kaw's Water Quality Website

Kansas Herpetological Atlas

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