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Lesson Plan by Concepts

The table below outlines different examples of how amphibians and the resources on this website can be used to illustrate biological concepts. We update the table so please feel free to offer suggestions.

Biological Concept

AmphibiaWeb Illustration of Concept

  • Compare the diversity between amphibian orders and or families. Discuss why some groups are more diverse.
  • Compare families that have key innovations with families that do not. For example, how do families that have evolved direct development compare with families in the same biome in regards to diversity?
  • Tie speciation in with biogeography. See this article for an example of salamander diversity and elevation.
Global Patterns of Diversity
  • Use Cartograms page as a visualization to prompt discussions on differences in diversities of the three orders.
    • Why do we only see caecilians in the tropics?
    • Why is salamander diversity the greatest in the regions not rich in frogs?
Sexual Dimorphisim
Parental Care
Key Adaptations
  • Direct development of larvae (eggs that hatch out little frogs, also called froglets, or live birth of tadpoles or froglets). Family examples include Brevicipitidae.
  • Evolution of toepad morphology include sticky or enlarged pads for climbing, and enlarged pads for gliding. Examples of climbing pads include the family Hylidae (sticky pads) and family Rhacophoridae (enlarged pads). Examples of gliding pads include : Vampire Flying Frogs (Rhacophorus vampyrus,), and Wallace's Flying Frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus).
  • Adaptations to arid environments include fossorial aestivation, explosive breeding, and rapid metamorphosis of larvae. Family examples are Scaphiopodidae, Pelobatidae.
  • Loss of lungs that allow for shooting tongue is most known in the family Plethodontidae.
  • Adaptations to aquatic life can include the presences of lateral lines, paedomorphism, and increased lung capacity. Family examples include Amphiumidae, Sirenidae, Pipidae, and Typhlonectidae. Adaptations to breeding in fast moving streams can also found in the family Ascaphidae, in which males have a unique external copulatory organ that can only be found in the two species of this family, Ascaphus montanus and Ascaphus truei.
Natural Selection or
  • Use the search option for "Reasons for Decline" as "disease". Which species are unable to adapt to this disease. Also in host-parasite evolution, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, the pathogen causing chytridomycosis, is driving itself toward extinction?
  • Use the search option for "Reasons for Decline" as "Introduced competitors" and/or "Predators (natural or introduced)".

Related Resources:

UC Museum of Paleontology, Understanding Evolution:

Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Amphibian Education Materials:

For non-amphibian AZA lesson plans please visit their Thematic Educational Activities page.
  • Caller ID: The Frog - and Toad! - Mating Game - Learn how frog and toad use sound to find each other, tell species apart, and how these techniques are used by scientists. You can also adapt this lesson plan to your region by visiting AmphibiaWeb's Call and Video Files or search your region to see what calls are available.

  • Is Climate Change Good for Frogs? - Learn how climate changes impacts the lives of frogs and other animals.

  • Frog Olympics - Get physically active while exploring how different frog jumping and feeding abilities help them survive in their environment.

  • From Polliwog to Frog - Use this lesson plan to demonstrate how a typical frog transforms via metamorphosis from the aquatic larval stage to the terrestrial adult phase. You can also pair this with the AmphibiaWeb Life Cycle coloring page .

  • Metamorphosis - Learn about the amphibian life cycle and how they develop from their (typically) aquatic phase to their terrestrial phase. This lesson plan can also be adapted to different species by searching the AmphibiaWeb's CalPhoto Library associated with each species! Expand on this lesson plan for more advanced students by including direct developing amphibians as examples and for discussion points. You can also pair this with the AmphibiaWeb Life Cycle coloring page .

  • Soak it Up - Learn why amphibians' permeable skin makes them susceptible to pollution and why that makes them great bio-indicators.

  • Toad Abode - Learn how to make an inviting habitat for a toad using this activity, which leaves room for creativity and art.

We are always looking for new ideas and ways to improve so please drop us a line if you have suggestions!

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