Amiable Amphibians
Lesson Objective
The student will learn about classifying Utah animals - specifically amphibians.
Background Information for Teacher
Words in bold will be said aloud by the teacher.
Student Prior Knowledge
Amphibian True/False handout
Amphibian Information Cards
Characteristics of Frogs and Toads chart
Dichotomous Key For Common Utah Amphibians handout
Envelope Journal Instructions handout
Utah’s Amphibians and Reptiles Booklet
Chart paper
Step-by-Step Guided Lesson
Step 1: Start Video
(Tips: Interact with the video by pausing, to ask questions or discuss information viewed with student.)
Step 2: Teach Lesson
Tell the student, Today we will be learning about classifying animals such as Amphibians.
Ask the student, What is an Amphibian? Allow student time to respond. Amphibians are a group of cold-blooded animals that
includes frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders. They typically spend part of their life in water, part on land. They are
distinct from reptiles in that their eggs must be laid in moist conditions and their soft skins have no scales.
Some distinct characteristics of amphibians are:
The larvae (the active immature form of an insect) usually live in the water, while the adult lives on the land and is generally
four-legged and carnivorous.
The process of metamorphosis, hatching from eggs into gilled larvae that later develop into land-loving adults with lungs,
is a distinct characteristic of amphibians.
Teach this short song to the student. It is sung to the tune of “Are You Sleeping?”
Classifying, Classifying
What’s it got?
What’s it got?
Let’s identify it
Come on and just try it
“Have,” “Have not”
“Have,” “Have not”
Try singing it as a round. Discuss what the song is about and define classification and identifying animal groups with dichotomous
Ask the following oral True/False questions and have the student answer with the “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down” game (Up=True,
Down=False) to pre-assess prior knowledge for this investigation:
Frogs live in all Utah environments. (T)
Toads can give you warts. (F)
Frogs can leap farther than toads. (T)
All frogs are nocturnal. (F)
Toads have moist skin (F)
Some toads live in Utah’s deserts (T)
Toads must live near water. (F)
Toads are poisonous. (T)
Amphibians lay eggs. (T)
Frogs have rough, dry skin. (F)
Frogs and toads are amazing! Have the student cut apart the Amphibian Information Cards
and read about the different amphibians
that live in Utah.
Have the student organize the cards in some way on the paper provided. Leave this direction open so that the activity allows for
some inquiry to take place. Tell the student to be prepared to explain their system of organization. The student can record this
system in their science journals.
Discuss the student's system. Display the chart.
Review the similarities and differences between frogs and toads. (Use the Characteristics of Frogs and Toads
chart as a reference,
but have students do this individually and copy information in their journals.) Allow time to adjust the organization of their cards if they
wish to change.
Review the concept of a dichotomous key. Tell the student, we are using a system that is used by scientists to communicate
information in a similar way so that all scientists understand the information. This system is called a dichotomous key. (The
word “dichotomy” means “division into two.” A dichotomous key reduces the task of identifying something into a series of questions
that are based on physical features. Each set of questions eliminates others, eventually leading to the name of the mystery item).
Look at the students chart and verify if the student used dichotomous keys ( If the student did not use dichotomous key, make sure
the student understands that even though they used a different system it is not wrong. Reiterate that dichotomous key is just what
scientists use).
Tell the student there is a different dichotomous key. This type helps to identify the names of amphibians based on their physical
characteristics, but also helps us learn the animal’s name.
Practice one together that models this kind of key for student.
The student will work to “key” out their amphibian cards. Teacher should be available to answer questions and correct any
Have the student create an Envelope Journal for their amphibian cards to go into their science journals(Step 3).
Step 3: Complete the worksheet attached below.
Worksheets needed to complete the lesson
Envelope Journal
Step 4: Review. Start the next lesson with the game or activity attached below for review so the student can demonstrate
understanding of this lesson before moving forward.
Classification game (online) game