Objective: Students will listen to a Native American fable and learn the process of amphibian metamorphosis. The fable will introduce students to the concept of how wildlife was highly respected in the Native American culture.

Materials: The "Woman Who Married A Frog" story, paper and pencils, crayons and scissors, glue, masking tape and cardboard backing, craft sticks and miscellaneous craft materials, copy of Polly and Bullfrog, frog life cycle and facts

Background: Frogs are an integral part of any healthy wetland ecosystem. In the past 50 years, populations have declined markedly throughout the US. Many scientists believe the decline can be based on many factors from climatic and atmospheric changes to habitat destruction (Note: attached is a copy of The Natural Source's "Northern Leopard Frog" that will give you background on South Dakota's common native amphibian.).

The frog, because of its link to water and land, is associated with the magic of both elements in the Native American culture. Many say the voice of the frog calls the rain, which makes things grow. Frogs can tell us to get in touch with the element of water, which is associated with emotions. Frog people are very sensitive to others, and always know how to act and what to say. The call of the frog is the call of the water, and its medicine can bring rains to cleanse, to heal, to help things grow. The spring and summer are power times when frog's voice is strongest. It is a symbol of coming into one's own creative power, since it is always in touch with water and earth. Frogs are tuned to sound and teach us to use the voice to stir the emotions and to call for the rains or change the climatic conditions of our lives.

Read students "The Woman Who Married A Frog" story. Make copies of the picture at the end of the story and have students color (A suggestion would be to display the artwork throughout the room to reinforce the Native American topic).

Using the discussion summation at the end of the story, ask the topic questions to the students to help introduce amphibian metamorphosis.

Have students gather supplies to make the four frog puppets.

Divide class into small groups of four. Hand out scripts for the play. Students should take a few minutes to read over the script to familiarize themselves with the design instructions. Encourage students to be as creative as possible. Have each student design a puppet based on the information in the script. Instruct all groups that each person in the group will need to decide on which part of the play they'd like to be. Please note that there are two speaking parts and two non-speaking parts in the play.

Have each group perform their play. If time permits, students could design a "wetlands set" from which to present their creations.

Invite a Native American friend to your class to discuss their history and culture. Read additional Indian legends and listen to Indian music.

Visit a wetlands and collect a small number of frog or toad eggs. Keep, care for and observe them until they hatch into larvae. Raise the larvae to the froglet stage and study them as they grow. Then set them free.

Contact a local wildlife refuge which maintains a healthy wetlands ecosystem. Arrange a tour of the wetlands and invite a wildlife biologist to accompany your class. Encourage the biologist to help students recognize amphibians and the various stages of metamorphosis that are identified during the nature walk.

Vocabulary Glossary:
Amphibian: A cold-blooded, smooth-skinned vertebrate of the class Amphibia that characteristically hatches as an aquatic larva with gills
Bullfrog: An adult frog
Froglet: The stage in a frog's development whereby it develops lungs and begins to breathe in air directly
Metamorphosis: A series of distinct stages in the development from egg to adult
Pollywog: Another name for tadpole
Tadpole: The immature aquatic stage of amphibians when a frog is legless and propels itself by means of a tail

Activity adapted from Keeper's of the Animals
Grade Level:

Subject Areas:
Reading, Social Studies, Visual Arts

SD Standards for 4th grade:
4.R.1.1; 4.R.1.2; 4.R.3.1; 4.R.4.1

Social Studies

Visual Arts
Standard 1; Standard 2; Standard 3


Observation, Analyzing, Interpreting, Presenting

Prior Preparation: To set the stage, teach students the Frog Chant and have a small discussion about Native American culture. Educator may also want to lead a discussion about frog habitat and wetland destruction. Have students review the pictures of the tadpole, polliwog and frog and discuss the life cycle of amphibians. If Wetlands To Go trunks are available, have students play "Amphibia Trivia" to become more familiar with the topic.

amphibian, bullfrog, froglet, metamorphosis, pollywog, tadpole
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